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Preview: Nuggets look to shrug off a tough loss last night with a win vs the Jazz

The Denver Nuggets battle the Division Rival Utah Jazz on second night of a back-to-back.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz face-off tonight on the second night of a back-to-back. The Nuggets are off a disappointing 130-115 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, hopefully, they can bounce back and win 1 of 2 against division rivals. The Utah Jazz are on a 5 game losing streak but have been without Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert for many of those games.

The Nuggets are 0-3 versus the Jazz so far this season, with both Gobert and Mitchell out tonight the Nuggets look to snag a win from an injured team. Nikola Jokic has put up a triple-double in 6 of his last 10 games, the Nuggets are hoping for another great performance from the Joker tonight. With Bones Hyland not being selected to the Rising Stars game, he will be looking to show the voters that they were wrong. The Jazz also don’t have very great bench perimeter defenders so Bones could be in for a good game.

The Essentials:

Who: The Denver Nuggets (28-22) (15-13 on the road) @ the Utah Jazz (30-21) (15-10 at home)

When: 8:00 (MST)

Where: Vivint Arena, UT

How to Watch: NBA League Pass and AltitudeTV (if available). 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Expected Starters:

Den: Monte Morris (PG), Will Barton (SG), Aaron Gordon (SF), Jeff Green (PF), Nikola Jokic (C)

Utah: Mike Conley (PG), Royce O’Neale (SG), Bojan Bogdanovic (SF), Rudy Gay (PF), Udoka Azubuike (C)

Injuries:

Den: Nikola Jokic: Questionable (Right toe soreness), Aaron Gordon: Questionable (Left hamstring tightness), DeMarcus Cousins: Questionable (Right foot sprain), Michael Porter Jr.: OUT (Back), Jamal Murray: OUT (ACL), Vlatko Cancar: OUT (Foot)

Utah: Jordan Clarkson: Questionable (Knee), Trent Forrest: Probable (Ankle), Rudy Gobert: OUT (Calf), Donovan Mitchell: OUT (Concussion), Joe Ingles: OUT (ACL), Hassan Whiteside: OUT (Back), Daniel House: OUT (H&S)

Rival Blog: SLC Dunk

Three Things to Watch:

Nikola Jokic’s Matchup

The Utah Jazz are missing their two best shot blockers in Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside, which means that Jokic will likely have a matchup advantage on every single possession (if he didn’t already). The Jazz only have one true Center available to them tonight, Udoka Azubuike who is a second-year player. If Jokic can get Azubuike into foul trouble then there’s not a whole lot the Jazz can do, their next best options are Bojan Bogdanovic or Eric Paschall who is 6’6.

Can the Nuggets slow down Bogdanovic?

Bogdanovic has always has great games against the Nuggets. Over the last 2 seasons, Bojan has averaged 28 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists per game while shooting 56% from the field and 47% from 3 versus the Nuggets. He put up 48 as well as 36 points in a game during that time. Quite the jump from his 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists on 46% from the field and 38.5% from 3 that he is averaging this season. Hopefully, Aaron Gordon can show off his stellar defense on Bojan tonight.

How do the Nuggets bounce back on no rest?

The Nuggets have a record of 2-6 when on the second night of a back-to-back. Despite a tough loss in Minnesota last night the Nuggets need to beat the short-handed Jazz. While the Nuggets aren’t especially great with no rest this is not the Utah team we all know. The Nuggets still have the advantage I would say, but Utah hasn’t played since Sunday so they are fully rested. This is still a rivalry game, the Jazz will not give us anything easy.