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Recap: Denver loses a close one in starless matchup

Despite Bryn Forbes best game in a Nuggets uniform the Nuggets head home after a loss in Utah, 108-104.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets drop back-to-back games against two division rivals. The Utah Jazz were short-handed without Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Joe Ingles. Even though Denver was without reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, they still had a chance. Jazz won at home 108-104. With Jokic out Zeke Nnaji started in his place, as did Austin Rivers for Aaron Gordon.

The Nuggets leading scorer was Bryn Forbes with his Nuggets high, 26 points in 30 minutes. He shot 10-13 from the field and 4-5 from three. Davon Reed also got significant action and played well, he put up 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, while shooting 5-7 from the field and 3-5 from three in 30 minutes. The Jazz had a very well-rounded offense, having 5 players finish with more than 15 points. Their leading scorer was Trent Forrest, the sophomore player out of Flordia State. Forrest finished with 18 points and 8 assists.

First Quarter:

  • Royce O’Neale opens the game off on a layup with the feed from Bojan Bogdanovic.
  • The Nuggets struggled to score against the Jazz to start the game, their first 4 points were all free throws.
  • Monte Morris strung together back-to-back scoring drives but the Jazz kept pouring it on, going up by as many as 9 points.
  • Nuggets went on a 13-2 run, it was led by the bench unit plus Will Barton.
  • Mike Conley hit a three and Will Barton turned the ball over to end the quarter.

30-28 Nuggets up after one.

Second Quarter:

  • Bryn Forbes opens the quarter with a mid-range jumper and follows it up with a three, he had 10 points in 4 minutes.
  • The Nuggets ball movement was flowing well, it gave Davon Reed 2 wide-open threes in the second quarter alone.
  • Both teams were shooting well, in the first 4 minutes of the 2nd both teams had only missed one shot.
  • Davon Reed continues to play great on both sides of the ball. He had 11 points on perfect 4/4 shooting in the first half.
  • Neither team could stop the other and the lead kept swapping between the two.
  • Every player that entered the game had scored at least 4 points by halftime, except for Austin Rivers.

61-60 Nuggets holding on.

Halftime Thoughts:

The Nuggets offense looked really good in the first half even without Jokic and AG. Players were cutting all over and generating open looks for each other. The Jazz were letting Davon Reed shoot and he kept making them pay. Bryn Forbes was moving around off-ball constantly and was shooting lights out. Nuggets shot 9-13 from three in the first half. The Jazz were tough to stop but so was Denver, whatever team starts locking down on defense will win this game.

Third Quarter:

  • The Nuggets and Jazz trade more layups and struggle to score, neither team was up by more than 2 until 7:47 to go in the quarter.
  • Nuggets made 2 baskets in the first 5 minutes of the 3rd.
  • Jazz went on a 6-0 run.
  • Both teams struggled from 3, shooting 3/17 combined.
  • Denver only scored 19 points, shooting 2/11 from three.
  • 8 baskets and 8 turnovers by Denver in the quarter.

82-79 Jazz up by 3.

Fourth Quarter:

  • The Nuggets open off with the bench unit, they brought it to a one-point game. They just still could not stop the Jazz.
  • Denver goes 2:02 without scoring, Jazz lead grows to 4.
  • Royce O’Neale picks up a technical foul while Bogdanovic lets the ref know how he feels about a potential missed call.
  • O’Neale grabs a couple of tough offensive rebounds, after a frustrating Bones turnover he takes it all the way and causes Coach Michael Malone to call a timeout.
  • The Nuggets would score and take the lead down to 2 but the Jazz would go down the court and get it right back.
  • Back-to-back turnovers for the Nuggets.
  • Zeke Nnaji gives up a basket to Mike Conley and then commits an offensive foul on the other end. Jazz go up by 7.
  • Monte Morris hits a layup and Will Barton draws a foul. Utah challenges but ultimately loses and Denver gets within 4 again.
  • Forbes hits a floater to bring it to 2, Bojan grows the lead to 4 again though.

108-104 Jazz win.

Final Thoughts:

The Nuggets played well for the majority of the game, just when it mattered most they couldn’t pull it off. The offense stopped moving and creating looks towards the end of the game and Denver struggled to score as a result. Bryn Forbes showed us why Tim Connely was willing to give up what he did to get Forbes on the team. Without Nikola Jokic this team is not very good and this game is further proof of that, he’s the MVP for a reason. On to the next one.

What’s Next?

The Nuggets have one day off and will be back at it on Friday to face the New Orleans Pelicans at home. The game is at 7:00 (MST). Despite the lack of Zion Williamson, the Pelicans are still a fun team to watch.