DENVER -- Members of the Golden State Warriors rolled their eyes as Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic made his way to the foul line. He was about to attempt his 15th and 16th free throws.

Jokic ended the game taking, and making, 18 free throws -- a career high for him and an NBA record for the most such makes without a miss on Christmas Day. It also was tied for the second-most free throws overall for Christmas.

The Warriors weren't necessarily mad at the officiating of Jokic on Denver's way to its 120-114 victory. The countless bloody scratches he has after every game is proof of the contact he works through.

But Warriors coach Steve Kerr was displeased with how fouling has been refereed leaguewide.

"I have a problem with how we are legislating the defense out of the game," Kerr said. "We are enabling players to B.S. their way to the foul line. If I were a fan, I wouldn't have wanted to watch the second half of that game. It was disgusting. It was just baiting refs into calls, but the refs have to make those calls ... the players are really smart in this league. For the last decade, they've gotten smarter and smarter. We have enabled the players, and they are taking full advantage.

"It's a parade to the free throw line, and it's disgusting to watch."

Jokic told ESPN he isn't actively thinking about selling a call when he feels contact. His emphasis is on staying aggressive and hoping the whistle gets blown.

But Warriors guard Stephen Curry said the whistle will always benefit the player who can make sure the official sees that there is contact, often by exaggerating.

"It does cater to the guys who can sell calls. There is physicality. But it's tough because it is inconsistent, at times, on either side," Curry said. "On a night like tonight, when you feel there is physicality on one side and then ticky-tack on the other, it changes the complexity of the game. I'm not saying we don't foul, but consistency is key when understanding how you can defend."

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said as long as a player is "selling" a call, versus flopping, there is no problem. In Jokic's case, Murray believes he should get even more calls, as the reigning Finals MVP is averaging 5.9 free throw attempts per game and is hitting a career-low 79.5% of them.

For Jokic, his presence at the foul line opened up his entire game on Monday, propelling him to his 26 points, which included 4-of-12 shooting from the field.

In the first half, Jokic had attempted just four free throws and had only six points. The third quarter is where he found his game, taking -- and making -- 10 more foul shots.

"I was missing shots, so I was just trying to be aggressive in another way, maybe play a little more physical" Jokic told ESPN. "It just happened to be that kind of night. This is the most I've ever had."

Jokic's ability to draw fouls against the Warriors was a welcomed sight for the Nuggets. Entering Monday's matinee, the Nuggets ranked last in free throw rate at 73% and in the bottom 10 in foul shots attempted per 100 possessions.

Part of the reason for such low free throw shooting, Jokic said, is because the Nuggets haven't been aggressive enough in working their way into the paint.

"It seems like even in transition we are going to the 3-point more, so we aren't giving us an opportunity to get to the line," Jokic told ESPN.

Getting to the bonus early allowed the Nuggets to live at the line -- shooting 32 free throws as compared to Golden State's 23, repeatedly stopping the clock and setting their defense.

The Nuggets held Curry to 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting and Klay Thompson to just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, with all of Thompson's made shots being 3-pointers.

Denver scored 20 fast-break points to Golden State's eight. Over the previous 10 outings, the Nuggets were in the bottom five in fast-break points in the league.

"It starts with defending and rebounding and then guys giving themselves up and running," Denver coach Michael Malone said of Monday's turnaround. "Or if you don't get the ball, get to the corners so guys have more space to operate. That's how we want to play, and we were able to do that at a high level tonight."