The Denver Nuggets are looking to exercise a demon in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. They have not won in Utah since 2020, and that victory is their only victory in Utah since 2015. The Nuggets will have perhaps their best opportunity yet to turn the tides in Utah as they get a Jazz team tonight that is devastated by injuries and desperately just trying to get to the finish line of the season. Their entire starting five from the beginning of the season is out save for Talen Horton Tucker and he’s in full DNP-CD mode at this point. To make matters worse, Utah has lost twelve games in a row. Denver has a great chance to finally get a win in their personal house of horrors and stay in the driver’s seat for the number one overall seed.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (54-24) at Utah Jazz (29-49)

When: 7:00PM MDT

Where: We swear there’s only the good Boeing planes in our fleet Arena, UT.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV stream and Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5. Bring any loading dock worker a case of any beer that has a higher ABV than 5% and they are sure to look the other way.

Rival blog: SLC Dunk

The Matchup

Position Nuggets Jazz Advantage
PG Jamal Murray Collin Sexton Nuggets
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Keyonte George Nuggets
SF Christian Braun Brice Sensabaugh Nuggets
PF Michael Porter Jr. Taylor Hendricks Nuggets
C Nikola Jokic Omer Yurtseven Nuggets
Bench Reggie Jackson, Peyton Watson, Justin Holiday, Zeke Nnaji, Julian Strawther Darius Bazley, Micah Potter, Kira Lewis Jr., Johnny Juzang, Luka Samanic Nuggets

Injury Report: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – probable (shoulder), Nikola Jokic – probable (hip), Jamal Murray – probable (knee), Michael Porter Jr. – probable (knee), Julian Strawther – probable (ankle), Aaron Gordon – questionable (foot), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Jordan Clarkson – out (groin), John Collins – out (back), Kris Dunn – out (foot), Walker Kessler – out (nose), Lauri Markkanen – out (shoulder).

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: The Nuggets vs some rando

Jan 10, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George (3) retrieves the ball between the basket and the glass against the Denver Nuggets during the second half at the Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

The last time these two teams met Utah’s roster was depleted as well and the Nuggets got caught sleeping on Keyonte George and he ended up pouring in twenty-nine points. Johnny Juzang is coming off a twenty-seven point performance against the Golden State Warriors. Just because the Nuggets are headed towards the playoffs and the Jazz are playing a bunch of backups a week away from vacation doesn’t mean this one will come easy. After the lost season Utah has had there will be nothing sweeter than ending their losing streak against the defending champs. That’s essentially the biggest thing left for the Jazz to play for at this point.

The thing to remember: The one time Denver won in Utah it was against incredible odds

Denver’s lone win in Salt Lake City in nearly a decade is also one of the most impressive wins of the Michael Malone/Nikola Jokic/Jamal Murray era. The team rostered just seven players that night while facing a 32-17 Jazz team that was fully healthy with Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles starting in a game known affectionately to Nuggets fans as the “Magnificent 7” game. The Nuggets ratcheted up their defense to the max, got a 30-20-10 triple double from Jokic and a thirty-one point scoring effort from Murray on their way to a 98-95 win. It’s a special moment in Nuggets lore and also proof that Denver can’t sleep on this Utah team tonight as any team on the floor has the capability of coming up with a huge upset.

The thing to bet: Michael Porter Jr. over 6.5 rebounds (-110)

Aaron Gordon is questionable for the game and if he can’t go then the likely move from Malone is to slide MPJ to the 4 spot and put Christian Braun at the three which in theory will leave Mike more opportunities to rebound. I say in theory because he had just three boards against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday in the same situation. However, Mike usually bounces back strong from poor rebounding efforts so given the opportunity and the motivation I like the over here.