Can Nikola Jokic Keep Up Game 1 Pace for Nuggets Against L.A.?

Can Nikola Jokic Keep Up Game 1 Pace for Nuggets Against L.A.?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

For the first time in franchise history, the Denver Nuggets emerged victorious in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night. And with that, a number of Colorado sports betting users cashed in their bet slips.

The Michael Malone-coached club rode a pair of 30-point performances from veterans Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic to a 132-126 Game 1 win over the Lakers at Ball Arena, improving their home record this postseason to 8-0.  

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Heading into Thursday’s Game 2, Denver is listed as No. 2 on their NBA championship odds board (+165 to Boston’s -105).

BetColorado.com took a look back at how the leading scorers from Game 1 over the last decade have gone on to perform in the remaining Western Conference Finals contests.

Here’s a hint: if you’re wagering on the best Colorado betting apps, it seems safe to keep betting on Jokic to dominate.

WC Finals Game 1 Scoring Leaders

2013

  • Tony Parker (San Antonio): 20 points
    Led Spurs in PPG (24.5) and assists (9.5) in 4-0 series win
  • Quincy Pondexter (Memphis): 17 points
    Tied for first (Mike Conley) on Grizzlies in PPG (15.3)

2014

  • Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City): 28 points
    Second in PPG (25.8) and first in rebounding (7.7) in 4-2 series win
  • Tim Duncan (San Antonio): 27 points
    Led Spurs in PPG (17.8) and rebounding (10.2)

2015

  • Steph Curry (Golden State): 34 points
    Led Warriors in PPG (31.2) and assists (5.6) in 4-1 series win
  • James Harden (Houston): 28 points
    Led Rockets in scoring (28.4) and assists (6.4)

2016

  • Steph Curry (Golden State): 26 points
    Led Warriors in scoring (27.9) and assists (5.9) in 4-3 series win
  • Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City): 27 points
    Second in scoring (26.7), first in assists (11.3) in series

2017

  • Steph Curry (Golden State): 40 points
    Led Warriors in scoring (31.5) in 4-0 series win
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio): 28 points
    Led Spurs in scoring (15.5)

2018

  • Kevin Durant (Golden State): 37 points
    Led Warriors in scoring (30.4) in 4-3 series win
  • James Harden (Houston): 41 points
    Led Rockets in scoring (28.7) and assists (6.0) in series

2019

  • Steph Curry (Golden State): 36 points
    Led Warriors in scoring (36.5) in 4-0 series win
  • Damian Lillard (Portland): 19 points
    Led Trail Blazers in scoring (22.3) and assists (8.5)

2020

  • Jamal Murray/Nikola Jokic (Denver): 21 points
    Murray led Denver in PPG (25.0) and assists (7.4); Jokic led in rebounding (7.2) and second in scoring (21.8)
  • Anthony Davis (L.A. Lakers): 37 points
    Led Lakers in PPG (31.2) in a 4-1 series win

2021

  • Devin Booker (Phoenix): 40 points
    Led Suns in PPG (25.5) in a 4-2 series win
  • Reggie Jackson (L.A. Clippers): 34 points
    Second on Clippers in scoring (20.3) and assists (3.7)

2022

  • Steph Curry (Golden State): 21 points
    Led Warriors in scoring (23.8) and assists (7.4) in 4-1 series win
  • Luka Doncic (Dallas): 20 points
    Led Mavs in PPG (32.0), rebounding (9.2) and assists (6.0)

2023

  • Nikola Jokic (Denver): 34 points
  • Anthony Davis (L.A. Lakers): 40 points
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Can Nuggets Follow Game 1 Trend?

Over the last six years, a trend has emerged for those betting on the series using Colorado sportsbook promo codes — the winner of Game 1 in the Western Conference Finals has gone on to capture the series.

The last team to win a Game 1 but not the series was Oklahoma City, which beat Golden State (108-102) in Game 1 before falling in seven games.

Since then, the Warriors (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022), Lakers (2020) and Suns (2021) have all ridden a Game 1 victory to an appearance in the NBA Finals.  

Over the last eight years, the leading scorer for the winner of Game 1 has gone on to be that team’s No. 1 scoring threat in the series, with Kevin Durant (25.8 PPG in 2014) being the last Game 1 leading scorer to fail to lead their team in points per game at series’ end.  

As for Thursday’s Game 2, oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook Colorado have Denver at -210 in the contest, with a spread of -5.5 in favor of the home side.

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Author

Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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