We’ve waxed breathlessly about the wonder of Nikola Jokic—the Denver Nuggets big man with the offensive versatility and foot speed of Batman’s utility belt—before.
But what he did on Thursday night, breaking a record that had stood for more than six decades, should take any hoops fan’s breath away.
He set an NBA record by reaching a triple-double in his first 14:33 of floor time of his squad’s 134-123 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, destroying the previous record for the fast triple-double in league history.
Nikola Jokic just recorded the fastest triple-double in NBA history (14:33).
Previous record was 17 minutes back in 1955 by Jim Tucker.
— Justin Phan (@jphanned) February 16, 2018
During the dominant stretch, Jokic added to his bonkers assists-only highlight reel.
Yeah, Jokic is feeling himself tonight pic.twitter.com/729cRKTf0F
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) February 16, 2018
He finished the first half with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists.
Nikola Jokic (16 PTS, 11 REB, 12 AST) notches his second consecutive triple-double and 11th of his career in just one half of action!#MileHighBasketball
— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2018
In the end, Jokic, who’s about to turn 23, left the floor with 30 points, 15 rebounds, and a career-high 17 assists.
“I just started playing well and making shots,” Jokic said afterward. “I didn’t have any extra motivation or anything like that though. I’m just playing the same way I always play. Maybe I was a little more aggressive tonight, but I’m playing the same.”
Head coach Mike Malone said he has the best young playmaker in the NBA.
“Even though you see it every day, it’s kind of like when I was fortunate enough to coach a guy like LeBron (James) or Chris Paul or Steph Curry,” Malone said, according to the Denver Post. “You recognize greatness … some of the plays that he makes and how he makes the right play over and over again and how he makes all his teammates better players, I do admire that. I do recognize that.
“No one in our organization takes it for granted. We feel we have the most dynamic, best facilitator, best playmaking young player in the NBA.”
Before the Nuggets center’s historic night, Jim Tucker held the record for the fastest triple-double, achieving the feat in his first 17 minutes of playing time in a game back in 1955.
Russell Westbrook now owns the third-fastest triple-double, getting there in 17:35 in April 2016.