The Denver Nuggets will look for some revenge tonight following a blowout loss to the Utah Jazz to open their season last Wednesday night. Utah drummed the Nuggets to the beat of 123-102 as Denver struggled to make three-pointers and defend them on the opposite end of the floor.
Denver has gone 3-1 since that game and looks like a much different team, while the Jazz — who had incredibly low expectations entering the season — have opened 4-1 through five games and have been the real surprise of the NBA.
Who: Utah Jazz (4-1) @ Denver Nuggets (3-2)
When: 7:00 p.m. MST
Where: Ball Arena, Denver CO
How to Watch/Listen: Altitude TV, NBA League Pass for the non-Denver market. Also on 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio
Rival Blog: SLC Dunk
Expected Starting Lineups:
Nuggets: Jamal Murray (PG), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG), Michael Porter Jr. (SF), Aaron Gordon (PF), and Nikola Jokić (C)
Jazz: Collin Sexton (PG), Jordan Clarkson (SG), Lauri Markkanen (SF)), Kelly Olynk (PF), and Jarred Vanderbilt (C)
DEN- Michael Porter Jr., Questionable (Lumbar Spine Injury Management), Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Questionable (Ankle), Davon Reed, Questionable (Personal), Collin Gillespie, out (Leg)
UTA- Walker Kessler, Questionable (illness), Collin Sexton, Questionable (oblique), Rudy Gary, Out (Health and Safety protocols)
What to watch for
When these two teams last played, the three-point line ended up being the difference. The Jazz shot 16-of-38 from beyond the arc, while the Nuggets shot just 5-of-22 from deep. Denver has improved its three-point performance in recent games and I expect it to be a massive focus going into tonight’s game.
The other thing I’ll be watching is the importance of Christian Braun, who did not play when these teams squared off last week. Braun got his chance to shine in the Nuggets second game against the Golden State Warriors in which he proved his importance not just defensively, but offensively as well.
Braun has become a player who all but certainly is going to remain in the rotation and his ability to defend against some of the Jazz’s bench players could end up being the difference in tonight’s game. One thing is for certain and it’s that if Braun keeps playing like he has been it’s going to be incredibly hard to keep him out of the rotation moving forward.