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Nikola Jokic was questionable for Game 3 of the Denver Nuggets Second Round Series against the Los Angeles Clippers with a sprained right wrist, but according to Athletic's Shams Charania, he will be active on Monday. Jokic comes off a huge performance in Game 2 in which he scored 28 points on 10 of 17 shots, along with 18 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. The Nuggets made that stellar outing to victory in Game 2, tying the series at 1-1 after being blown away by the favored Clippers in Game 1.
If Jokic had missed the game, Mason Plumlee would likely have joined the starting lineup in his place, and rookie sensation Bol Bol would likely have become the backing center. Bol has only played 17 minutes of lost playoff time so far, and for good reason. While his combination of size and shot is incredibly enticing, he just doesn’t have enough experience to stay on the pitch against a team like the Clippers, who have previously given Michael Porter Jr. rookie of the Nuggets.
Jokic has been remarkably durable throughout his career. He hasn’t missed a game this season, and has never missed more than nine games in a season. Fortunately, wrist injuries are usually not recurrent. His long-term health is not necessarily at risk. If he had missed the game, Denver would have had serious problems. The Nuggets are 6.7 points per 100 possessions better with their superstar center on the floor this season than on the bench.
His presence is particularly important against a Clippers team whose size is somewhat disappointing. Ivica Zubac, although solid, does not pose near the deterrent to Jokic that Rudy Gobert did in the last lap. Montrezl Harrell is a 6-8 substitute with an offensive spirit. Neither is uniquely equipped to slow Jokic down, and that’s one of the keys to Denver’s slim and upset prospects. Those hopes are still alive with Jokic playing in Game 3.