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Recap: Denver Nuggets fall to Utah Jazz shorthanded on the road

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets started their game off against the Utah Jazz where they left off last night when they turned the ball over which led to an easy dunk for Donovan Mitchell that was quickly answered by Monte Morris. Nikola Jokic was called for a foul on a layup attempt by Rudy Gobert, and Gobert went 1-of-2 at the free-throw line. Aaron Gordon got to the rim after a couple of empty possessions for a reverse dunk before Jokic and Mike Conley traded triples.

Conley hit a floater in the paint, but Gordon bullied his way to the rim for a layup of his own. The only problem with the early game for Denver was the Jazz’s outside shooting with another triple coming from Bojan Bogdanovich. Jokic was able to convert a 3-point play, but Gobert went right to the rim for a layup as he and Jokic were trading buckets early in the game. A mid-range jumper from Mitchell made the score 15-14 with just under eight minutes remaining in the first quarter before a nuggets’ timeout was called.

Coming out of the timeout, Gordon got his third shot to fall inside the paint to regain the lead. The two sides traded misses before Royce O’Neal knocked down a triple from the corner, but Morris quickly knotted the game at 18. Will Barton went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe before a loose ball ended up in the hands of Hassan Whiteside for an easy dunk. Michael Porter Jr. got his first shot of the night to fall from the elbow before he and Bogdanovich traded buckets again.

Whiteside got his second shot to fall before being called for his second foul while guarding Jokic. Jokic went 1-of-2 at the line, and the game was tied at 24 before Mitchell got to the rim for a terrific layup that Gordon must have taken personally with his aggressive answer of a layup. A Porter miss was followed up by a make from Mitchell before Porter buried his first 3-point shot of the night to give Denver a one-point lead and prompt a timeout from the Jazz.

Coming out of the timeout, Gordon added another bucket following a miss by Jordan Clarkson, but Clarkson quickly matched on the next possession. P.J. Dozier missed his first shot off of the bench, and Conley made him pay with a wide-open triple. The Jazz scored again before Denver turned it over, and they would go into the second quarter leading 35-31 with Facundo Campazzo blocking Clarkson at the buzzer.

Coming out of the break, Joe Ingles got to the rim for an easy layup, and the Jazz lead was beginning to grow following a Clarkson layup as they’d gone on an 11-0 run over the last 2:30 minutes. Austin Rivers had his shot rejected by Gobert, but Gobert immediately gave it back when he ran over Dozier on the other end. Jeff Green missed a wing 3-point shot before Clarkson hit a 3-pointer of his own which forced Michael Malone to use another timeout.

Campazzo was sent to the line where he knocked down a pair of shots to give Denver their first points of the quarter. The two sides traded misses before Gobert tipped in a missed layup that Dozier matched with a putback bucket of his own. Trailing 44-36, Green got to the line where he knocked down a pair of freebies. Ingles went to the line for a pair that were answered immediately by Jokic in his first minute back on the floor. Ingles knocked down a 3-point shot though, and the Nuggets were trailing by nine before a 1-of-2 showing for Jokic at the line brought them within eight.

A Clarkson 3-point bomb had Denver trailing by 11 before Morris and Whiteside traded buckets. Mitchell hit a long two that prompted another Denver timeout, and Jokic nailed a triple out of the timeout as he was the only player keeping Denver in the game on the offensive end. The two sides traded misses before Jokic and O’Neal traded easy layups. Another make by Gordon had Denver within five before Gobert threw down a big alley-oop layup which Jokic answered with another 3-point bomb. Jokic brought Denver within two at the free-throw line before he went to the floor in a lot of pain on the other end after knocking knees with Gobert under the basket.

Jokic limped to the locker room and had the entire Nuggets’ fanbase holding their breath while Gobert missed both free throws. Following a turnover by Denver, Gobert missed two more from the line, and Morris hit a mid-range jumper on the other end. Gobert regained the lead, but Morris hit another tough jumper to tie the game at 64. Mitchell hit a pair from the stripe, and the Jazz were leading at the half 66-64 after leading by as many as 11.

Coming out of the half, it was announced that Jokic would be sitting for the remainder of the game with a knee contusion. Gordon got his eighth shot to fall to tie the game for Denver, but Mitchell matched with a quick floater in the lane. Morris got a triple to fall to give Denver a 69-68 lead. Denver and Utah were trading buckets with Mitchell and Will Barton trading triples with a score of 74-73. Conley and Bogdanovich hit a pair of shots before Barton stopped the run to bring Denver within one.

Coming out of a timeout, Morris knocked a triple in transition, but JaMychal Green quickly fouled Bogdanovich and sent him to the line where he went 2-of-2. After several minutes of no scoring, Mitchell tied the game at 81 before he was quickly matched by Denver. Gordon was called for his fourth foul, three of which had come in the third quarter, and Bogdanovich knocked down two free throws to the game again at 83.

Barton forced a jump ball on the defensive end, and he was rewarded with a layup at the other end. Barton scored again following a miss by Clarkson, and the Jazz called another timeout to try and get their offense rolling again. Clarkson scored out of the timeout to bring Utah within two. Barton went 1-of-2 at the line, but Ingles tied the game at 88 with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter. A turnover by Barton Gave Utah the ball, and Clarkson made Denver pay when they left him wide open at the top of the lane. Barton answered right back with 5.7 seconds remaining on the clock to make it 90-91 heading into the final period.

The two sides traded misses to start the fourth quarter before Porter buried a big 3-pointer. Conley nailed one of his own a few possessions later, and the two sides were battling early in the season. A miss by Porter was answered by Clarkson at the rim to give Utah a 96-93 lead and prompt a timeout out of the Nuggets. Green knocked down a mid-range jumper out of the timeout to bring Denver within one, but Gobert got another alley-oop to go down to keep Utah in the lead.

A turnover from Porter ended up with a Gobert layup at the rim, and the Nuggets were unable to match it as the Jazz lead was beginning to grow up to 102-95. Denver finally got a shot to fall, but Whiteside matched it instantly. Leading by nine, Mitchell got to the rim where he put the scored and was sent to the line where he completed the 3-point play to give Utah a 12-point lead with 4:57 remaining. After the play, an altercation took place between JaMychal and Whiteside that resulted in double technicals and both players being ejected.

Denver turned the ball over, and the game was quickly beginning to wrap itself up with Utah leading by 13, although a triple by Morris had the Nuggets within 10. Free throws from each side had the final few minutes of the game dragging out with Utah leading by 12 with 3:00 remaining. Down by 13 with 2:24 remaining, Denver turned the ball over on a bad pass intended for Porter. A Morris miss all but sealed Denver’s fate, but Barton had them within 11 before Conley immediately matched him. Green converted a 3-point play at the line, but Gobert quickly scored to make Utah’s lead 12 once again. Ultimately, Ingles nailed a 3-point dagger that Porter matched, but it was too little too late with Utah winning 122-110.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic - 24

Assists: Jokic - 6

Rebounds: Michael Porter Jr. - 9

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic - 24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 8-of-9 field goal, 3-of-3 3-point, 5-of-7 free throw