Jazz At Nuggets: Game Night
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Welcome to KSL Sports Game Night as the Utah Jazz travel to Denver to face the Nuggets.
The two teams are facing off for the first time since their historic first-round matchup last season in the playoffs.
Follow this Game Night page throughout the night for updates on pregame quotes, starting lineups for the Jazz and Nuggets, and highlights and thoughts during the game.
Despite this being a rematch of last year’s postseason, the Jazz and Nuggets enter the game looking significantly different than they did just a few months ago.
The Jazz welcome Bojan Bogdanovic back, while the Nuggets have lost Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, both of whom played large roles for Denver in the playoffs.
The Nuggets were also without Gary Harris for much of the series, while Will Barton never played.
“This is a new year and this is a new Denver team in some respects,” Quin Snyder said. “We’re different too. So, it’s a hodgepodge of emotion and strategy and player rivalries and all those things.”
Meanwhile, Nuggets coach Mike Malone discussed what Bogdanovic offers the Jazz.
“You know you’re a great shooter when you’re shooting 37 percent, taking six threes a game, and people are saying that you’re not shooting well, that’s when you set the bar really high,” Malone said. “I know he had the wrist surgery, but he just is another high IQ player that thrives in their ball movement, drive and kick system.”
The Jazz opened the game hot and built a 10 point lead thanks to sharp shooting behind the three-point line. However, Boganovic has been turnover prone and mostly unforced errors.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are seeing more MVP level play from Nikola Jokic. He’s got 10 early points for Denver.
The Jazz have been getting good minutes from Georges Niang after a really slow start to the season.
He’s back at a point where it feels like anytime he shoots it’s going to fall. The Jazz were missing that early in the season and its one of the reasons they got off to a rocky start.
The Jazz open the second quarter on a 10-2 run. The Nuggets are struggling without Jokic on the bench, and the Jazz are getting out in transition off of Denver’s missed shots.
I wrote about it after the Jazz blew out the Hawks, but the team has begun generating a lot of fast-break opportunities because of steals and deflections. The Jazz are outscoring the Nuggets 14-2 in fast-break points so far in the first half.
The Jazz turnovers have been an issue tonight, credit the Nuggets defense, but a lot of them have been unforced.
Donovan Mitchell has had a rough start. After opening the game with a wide-open dunk, he’s 0-6 from the floor.
He’s getting into the paint, but the shots just aren’t falling. He’s also not getting to the free-throw line. Seems like the type of game where he’ll get it going in the second half.
As Mitchell struggles, Jamal Murray is having his best game of the season. As he did in the playoffs, he can’t seem to miss against the Jazz.
Muray has 24 first half points on 9-16 shooting.
Mitchell drops to just 2 points on 1-10 shooting.
The Jazz open the third quarter on a 9-3 run and retake the lead 62-61. They’re giving the Nuggets too many second-chance opportunities, but Denver hasn’t made them pay yet in the third.
Nuggets have 17 offensive rebounds in the game, but just nine points to show for it.
Promising sign as Mitchell gets an and-one on a layup and then hits his next runner going towards the rim. He can get going in a hurry after he sees the ball go in.
After a quiet game from Derrick Favors, he’s found a way in the third quarter to be very impactful on the glass fighting off Jokic.
Overall a good quarter from the Jazz who retake the lead 81-79 heading into the fourth quarter.
This game does have the feel of Jokic taking over in the fourth quarter with his ability to hit ridiculous shots over the length of Gobert.
The Jazz make some headway against Denver’s bench to start the fourth quarter. Denver’s second unit just isn’t very good, especially when they don’t have Michael Porter Jr. to turn to.
Jazz bench has outscored Denver 31-21. Jazz up 87-83 with 9:15 left in the game.
With Donovan Mitchell struggling the Jazz are going to have to find a way to manufacture points down the stretch.
Whether that’s defense turning into fast break points, or a run of three-point makes, the Jazz have to find a way to score.
Three-point opportunity for Derrick Favors on the dime from Donovan Mitchell.
The Jazz lead Denver 96-92 with 4:30 left in the game.
Mitchell has 7 assists despite 0-6 shooting from three.
After Royce O’Neale sinks two free-throws the Jazz lead the Nuggets 107-102. 10.6 seconds left, the Nuggets have the ball. Jazz in good shape.