UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Get Off To Blazing Start In Home Finale Against Denver

Apr 8, 2023, 1:58 PM | Updated: 3:05 pm

Utah Jazz forward Ochai Agbaji Grizzlies...

Utah Jazz forward Ochai Agbaji (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – In the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, the Utah Jazz jumped out to a 15-2 lead after the first five minutes.

Ochai Agbaji led the charge for Utah. He scored 12 of the Jazz’s first 21 points.

Utah shot 60% from the field before the first timeout of the game. Denver shot just 25%.

Luka Samanic got the night started with a high-flying alley-oop dunk in transition.

Lauri Markkanen was unavailable for the home finale, but he played a role from the bench.

He showed some love after this hustle play by Udoka Azubuike.

Markkanen also gave a speech to Jazz fans before tip-off.

He thanked the fanbase for an amazing year that saw the breakout of the Finnish All-Star.

Jazz Out Of Playoff Contention

The Jazz were eliminated from playoff contention by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets may need to beat the Jazz to lock up the top seed in the Western Conference.

Despite low expectations entering the year, the Jazz stayed competitive in the West playoff race until the season’s final week.

With just two games left to play in the regular season, the Jazz have more incentive to lose than to win.

Sitting at 36-44, the Jazz can guarantee themselves no worse than the ninth-best odds of winning the draft lottery by losing one of their two final games of the season.

If the Jazz were to win both Saturday against the Nuggets and Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Dallas Mavericks were to lose their final two games, the two teams would pull into an even 38-44 tie to finish the year, sharing lowered odds of winning the lottery.

The Mavericks will close the season at home against the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

Nuggets May Need Win To Clinch

The Nuggets have owned the top record in the West since December 20. Going into the final weekend of the season, they still haven’t locked up the conference’s number one seed.

The Nuggets either need to win one of their two final games or see Memphis drop one of their last two.

Denver has been resting its stars in recent outings. MVP candidate Nikola Jokic may need to be reactivated to avoid dropping to the second seed.

The Grizzlies will face the Bucks on Friday night, though Milwaukee will rest most of its starters in the contest.

Memphis will close the season in Oklahoma City after playing the Bucks, while the Nuggets will host the Sacramento Kings to conclude their regular season on Sunday.

Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets will tip off at 1:30 pm MT on Saturday. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.

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Utah Jazz Get Off To Blazing Start In Home Finale Against Denver