Goal is to play every game as Nuggets pursue 1-seed in West

Nikola Jokic doesn’t want to take any games off in the last week of the NBA regular season as long as he’s healthy, the two-time MVP said Tuesday night after Denver’s 110-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Jokic was asked if he would prefer to play all six remaining games as the Nuggets pursue the top seed in the Western Conference, or if he would prefer to prioritize his stamina and health before the playoffs begin. Jokic answered that if he’s feeling unfit to play at any point, he won’t ignore that. But he went on to point out the week off Denver will have between games after its regular-season finale April 14 at Memphis.

“My goal is to play every game, and that’s my mindset,” Jokic said. “So if something happens, I will let you guys know.”

The 2023-24 MVP favorite has been dealing with mild pain in his right wrist and his left hip recently, but he has only missed three games all season, all of them one-game road trips for which Jokic stayed behind in Denver. The upcoming game Thursday at the Los Angeles Clippers is the last one-game excursion of the season and a game that would make sense as a potential rest day — if Jokic wanted one.

But the Nuggets (53-23) need to finish a game in front of Oklahoma City and Minnesota if they hope to capture the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year. The Thunder and Timberwolves have both clinched head-to-head tiebreakers over Denver already. All three teams were deadlocked in the loss column (23) entering Wednesday.

After matching his season-high with 42 points against Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs, Jokic is averaging 26.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and nine assists per game on 58% shooting from the field. He has the third-highest individual offensive rating in the league (Denver scores 122.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor).


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