The Denver Nuggets (16-10, 7-3 home) take home a win against division rivals, the Utah Jazz (15-14, 6-9 away) 115-110. The Nuggets led for the entire first half and only barely allowed the Jazz to lead. Jokić recorded 31 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists, and notched his 80th career triple-double. Jamal Murray did not miss a step after his game-winning shot in Portland, Murray scored 19 in the first half and finished with 30 points.
The Jazz were led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker, he ended with 27 points and 5 three-pointers made. Alexander-Walker stepped up in the absence of a few Jazz starters, his season average before this game was 5 points per game. Malik Beasley also had an okay game, he finished with 19 points and 4 of his own threes.
After losing the opening tip-off, Nikola Jokić scores the first basket of the game on an offensive rebound putback. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes a three and puts up the Nuggets 7-0, Malik Beasley and Kelly Olynyk both make threes of their own to follow though. Jamal Murray gets a nice floater to go in a 2 man action with Jokić, Jokić then connects on a stepback three. We have a Murray Flurry to start this game, after Jokić’s three, Murray made 3 straight baskets. Including, this nice-looking acrobatic finish.
The Nuggets have made 9 shots in a row. Following the Jazz’s timeout, Jokić throws a lob pass out of the post to Aaron Gordon. The Jazz keep on connecting from three, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kelly Olynyk combined for a perfect 5-5 shooting from three early. With 5 minutes to go, Jokić misses the first Nugget shot since Aaron Gordon missed the first shot of the game. Denver subs in the bench and both teams step up defensively, Christian Braun immediately got on the court and forced a turnover with his hustling. The Nuggets allowed Utah to go on an 11-2 run after being up by 8 points. Bruce Brown scores at the last second and puts the Nuggets up 28-26 after the first quarter.
*Coach Malone headed back into the locker room for back issues in the first quarter, he returned in the second quarter.*
Jamal Murray enters the game as the quarter starts, he connects on a three on the first possession. Bones Hyland then knocks one of his own down on an assist from Murray. Following Bones’s shot, Denver gives up an 8-0 run. Talen Horton-Tucker scores 6 straight points for Utah, but, Jamal Murray stops the bleeding with a turnaround shot to beat the buzzer.
The rest of the starters check in, and as they do Jamal Murray checks out. Once Jokić checked back into the game, the Nuggets outscored the Jazz 10-7. KCP gets a three-pointer to go after performing an incredible pass fake.
Aaron Gordon jumps the passing lane for a steal and is rewarded on the other end of the court with a viscous alley-oop. Nikola Jokić also gets a rare dunk to fall on the next possession. Jamal Murray scores back-to-back baskets for the Nuggets, increasing the lead to a game-high 9. Denver closes the half off on a 10-2 run, Nuggets up 61-52 at halftime.
THT gets an and-1 to start the second half for Utah, and KCP starts things for Denver with a layup. Nikola Jokić assists on the Nuggets first 3 baskets, Nikola is now only 4 rebounds away from a triple-double with 11 minutes to go in the 3rd. Denver calls a timeout after only forcing the Jazz to miss a shot once in the first 4 minutes of the quarter. The Jazz are on a 16-9 run. Despite coming within 2 points of the lead, the Jazz still were unable to obtain the lead. Jamal Murray continues to stay hot, making a nice step through post move shot before being taken out to stagger minutes with the bench.
Nikola Jokić is fouled on back-to-back possessions while trying to post up. The Nuggets go 5:06 minutes without scoring, they give Utah their first lead of the game at 81-80. Denver gets the lead right back and Bones hits a tough three to put Denver up by 2 again. Jokić has played all but the last minute and nine seconds in the third, he and Jamal Murray played big minutes as the only starters on the floor. Christian Braun finishes an and-1 off of an assist from Jokić and makes the Nuggets lead 5. The Nuggets give up that 5-point lead immediately but a last-second basket from Jamal Murray gives them the lead going into the fourth. Denver is up 92-90.
Utah doesn’t want to go down easily, scoring in the first 15 seconds of the final quarter. Walker Kessler does earn a technical foul right after though. Rudy Gay connects on a three, his first points of the game, he then outrebounds DeAndre Jordan for a layup and grabs Utah’s biggest lead of the game. The Nuggets have given up a 7-1 run since the start of the 4th. Denver scored their first basket 2 minutes and 21 seconds into the quarter. Bones Hyland hits a huge three-pointer, he brings the deficit down to 1. Bones then throws a lob to DeAndre Jordan and grabs the lead back for Denver. Nikola Jokić checks back in with a 1-point lead and 7:03 to go in the game. THT finishes another and-1 but misses the free throw and Jokić scores on the other end. Horton-Tucker finishes yet another and-1, and Utah is up by 1 with less than 5 minutes to play. Gordon finishes a contested layup and gives Denver the lead again. Nikola Jokić is then fouled on back-to-back possessions and Denver now leads by 5. Nickeil Alexander-Walker gets a 4-point play on Jamal Murray late into the game, the Nuggets challenge the call and it is overturned. The basket still counts, but it is only a three-pointer and not a 4-pointer. The Nuggets turn the ball over on back-to-back possessions but, are able to hang onto the lead behind a Bruce Brown dunk.
Jokić blocks THT’s shot off of himself out of bounds forcing a turnover, he goes down the court and misses a shot. THT takes a deep three and it is way off, the Jazz foul Jokic with 10 seconds left. He makes one and misses one, making it a three-point lead for Denver. THT takes a deep three and it is way off, the Jazz foul Jokic with 10 seconds left. Alexander-Walker takes the shot and it is airballed, Murray hits his free throws and the game is over, Denver wins 115-110.
The Denver Nuggets will take on the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, December 14th. It will be Denver’s 2nd home game in a stretch where they play 6 of 7 games at home.