The Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz faced off in a high-scoring affair ending up in a 127-120 Utah victory. Although Denver had won the previous 4 out of 5 meetings with the Jazz, they could not conjure up that same type of production tonight. Denver had no answers for Bojan Bogdanovic as he dropped a career-high 48 points. MIchael Porter Jr. was very effective in the first half but did not exercise good shot selection in the second. MPJ poured in 31 and Jokic 24, but it was not enough to beat the pair of Bogdanovic and Clarkson tonight.

1st Quarter

  • The starters came ready to play on both ends. They attacked the basket well, executed good ball movement
  • Michael Porter Jr. was confident and aggressive mixing it up with perimeter shots and drives to the basket. 9 points on 4-6 shooting in his first 10 minutes
  • Millsap gave Denver effective offensive production scoring 7 points on 3-4 shooting
  • Defense really struggled late in the quarter as the bench came in. Gave up an 11 point lead with easy perimeter looks for Utah
  • Jokic played his usual versatile game along with being aggressive on the offensive and defensive glass. He ended the quarter with 6 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds
  • Score: 41-40 Denver

2nd Quarter

  • Michael Porter Jr. held the bench unit above water. He played one of his more aggressive first halves with equal production from the perimeter and the paint
  • Denver did not seem effective at all guarding the Jazz screen and roll game. Some help defenders were not showing or hedging at all, daring the best perimeter shooting team to do what they do best
  • JaMychal Green appeared to underperform on the defensive end, but he made up for it by knocking down three 3’s in the first half
  • Denver could not stop Bojan Bogdanovic. He scored 25 on 10-12 shooting in the first half
  • The defense was awful for the most part, but Denver’s offensive production maintained the lead
  • Score: 73-69 Denver

3rd Quarter

  • Defensive rotations were terrible early. It was shocking how many wide-open threes they gave Utah
  • With only three shot attempts in the first half, Jokic stepped up his offensive aggressiveness. At the end of three, he had 20 points and 10 assists
  • Bogdanovic remained red hot. He has been the only player they cannot find an answer for
  • Gordon seems confused offensively. He wants to be unselfish but aggressive and cannot find an effective balance yet
  • Shaq Harrison and Austin Rivers gave Denver a little momentum when they needed it. Rivers 4-4 from beyond the arc
  • Score: 99-98 Denver

4th Quarter

  • Reserves struggled offensively with ill-advised shot selection leading to easy baskets for Utah
  • So many offensive rebounds to be had but the Nuggets did not crash the offensive glass
  • Very little consistent offensive production
  • Every time Denver takes a little momentum offensively, they give Utah an open look from three and it hits the bottom of the net
  • Could not get stops down the stretch. When Utah missed shots they could not corral the rebound or they committed a foul
  • Final: 127-120 Utah

Tonight’s Takeaways

The defense was atrocious. I know this is a great offensive team, but Denver allowed Utah as wide-open of shot attempts as there can be. Bogdanovic was in an absolute zone which happens in the NBA, but they let him get comfortable often without any physical pressure. Denver’s bench has been playing great defense of late, but they seemed to really struggle rotating and guarding the screen and roll tonight.

Austin Rivers is getting into a groove offensively. His three-ball has been pure the last two games, and his production kept Denver in this game. He will be an integral part of the team down the stretch and in the playoffs. The Nuggets have been looking for that offensive spark of the bench and they may have found it.

Aaron Gordon needs to find his rhythm offensively. He is a very talented player and has more in the tank offensively than we have seen. His range seems to be about 10 feet and in, but he has open three-point range and is just not knocking them down. As injured as Denver is, they will need consistent offensive production from a player they traded a lot of assets to get.

My Player of the Game: Bojan Bogdanovic – 48 points on 16-23 shooting and 8-11 from beyond the arc