Jazz rookies Shine In Loss To Nuggets

Mar 9, 2024, 10:03 PM


Keyonte George #3 of the Utah Jazz reacts after sinking a three point basket (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz dropped their 10th game in their last 12 outings despite strong showings from rookies Keyonte George and Brice Sensabaugh.

George scored 29 points to lead the Jazz in their 141-121 loss to the Denver Nuggets 142-121.

Jamal Murray scored 37 points to lead the Nuggets who are 8-1 since the All-Star break.

Jazz Rookies Show Promise

After falling behind by 32 points at the half, George and Brice Sensabaugh found their offensive flow in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets offering an intriguing view into the future.

The two first-round picks combined for 26 points in the frame as the Jazz used an 18-1 run to cut the Nuggets lead to 14 heading into the final period.

“The best thing is they show a tremendous amount of confidence in themselves,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “They have a tremendous amount of confidence in each other.”

George showed off his scoring and playmaking as he repeatedly attacked Nuggets defenders off the dribble from all over the floor.

The guard scored 16 points on 5-6 shooting including 3-3 from downtown and added four assists in the quarter.

After missing Wednesday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls due to an illness, George scored 29 points and dished out six assists in his return to the lineup.

“Keyonte was a little out of it early in the game, he wasn’t playing his best,” Hardy added. “I know he’s been out a little bit and you’re playing against a great team and it’s hard to find a rhythm, but I thought he pushed through that and ended up turning in a good game.”

Sensabaugh opened the game with a strong first quarter and followed it up with an even better showing in the second half.

The Ohio State product finished with a career-high 16 points on 5-6 shooting while adding three assists, two rebounds, and three steals.

Sensbaugh hit shots all over the floor including a coast-to-coast layup plus the foul, a baseline push shot, and a very difficult set of fadeaway jumpers in the face of Christian Braun and Aaron Gordon.

The rookie’s performance came in just his second career start after scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against the Bulls.

“I think I’m in a decent spot,” Sensabaugh said of his recent performances. “Just continue to build on this and keep growing.”

There wasn’t much for Jazz fans to cheer for in the team’s lopsided loss to the Nuggets, but the two rookies offered a taste of what they might be able to cheer for in the coming seasons.

Jazz Standings Watch

With Saturday’s loss, the Jazz fell to 28-36 on the season and now sit a half-game back of the 11th-seeded Houston Rockets in the West.

The Atlanta Hawks have won three straight, and now sit a full 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz in the league standings.

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If the draft lottery were to be held today the Jazz would own the ninth-best odds of moving up into the top four picks, and would have a nearly 97 percent chance of owning a pick in the top ten on draft night.

Utah Jazz Next Opponent

The Jazz will face the Boston Celtics on Tuesday at 7 pm MST in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz rookies Shine In Loss To Nuggets