The Nuggets came out with a far different energy in this matchup than the season opener. After a rough couple minutes that saw them go down 9-3 early, Michael Malone called a timeout. Out of the timeout, they had an intensity to them that was absent in game 1 of the regular season. The offense was clicking, scoring 35 in the first frame. Michael Porter Jr.’s return was felt early with 11 first quarter points coming on 3-5 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc. With a pair of free throws he led all players in scoring. Bruce Brown also pitched in 5 points with an off the dribble three and a long two pointer.

The team got a 16 point lead at one point — being led by the starting unit and Christian Braun. The bench had a rough stint though. DeAndre Jordan had an offensive foul and technical foul called on him and the unit turned the ball over more than they should have. At the end of the first frame the Nuggets led 35-25.

After a rough stint to close the quarter, the Nuggets bench opened the second frame with a chip on their shoulder. Christian Braun was the key to that, having his second and-1 of the night and right after had a monster block on ex-Nugget Malik Beasley. He continues to show why Michael Malone puts faith in him. That block led to a Bones Hyland three that forced the Jazz into a timeout. Out of the timeout, Bones was cooking and hit another 2 threes to bring him up to 4 on the game. The Nuggets pulled away from the Jazz in the non-Jokic minutes and were having the makings of a serious blowout on their hands.

Once the starters came back in, Malone staggered MPJ’s minutes and kept Christian Braun in. The starters allowed the Jazz to get a bit closer, but Christian Braun had a good stint still — capped off by a rebound, his sixth of the night, and taking it coast to coast for a tough finish in transition. The Nuggets called a timeout after letting the lead get cut down to 13, but the minutes had been encouraging. Out of the timeout the Nuggets kept the same lineup and after Jamal Murray drew a charge, MPJ subbed in for Christian Braun. The game went to halftime with a score of 63-50. The Nuggets had come out with a far better result than their season opener.

The Nuggets came out flat to start the second half and let the Jazz get second chance points, three pointers, and started executing less on defense. It was nice to see a Jamal Murray transition 3 pointer fall, but the lead got cut to just 9 points at the 8 minute mark in the third quarter. Michael Malone called a timeout and tried to stop the Jazz’s run.

He decided to stick with the starters and some good buckets from Jamal Murray helped get the game back under control. Christian Braun was the first sub off the bench in the second half and also hit a 3 to help extend the lead. The bench continued the good play and scored buckets, including a DeAndre Jordan 3 pointer that put the Nuggets up 17 and forced the Jazz into a timeout. The Jazz brought it back a little bit after that, but the Nuggets survived what could’ve been a very bad quarter and remained up 11 going into the final frame. Nuggets led 89-78.

The final frame of this one could have gotten out of hand, but the Nuggets bench did what they failed to do at the end of the third quarter. They put the Jazz out of this one, with Bones Hyland hitting two 3 pointers, bringing him up to seven on the night, and MPJ also hitting one in the first three and a half minutes of the quarter. After a 15-1 run to start the fourth, the Jazz called a timeout with the Nuggets up by 25. Bones and MPJ were competing for the leading scorer in the game with 22 each by the timeout.

Afterwards, the Jazz put in their garbage time lineup and Denver was able to get their starters rest. Bruce Brown subbed in for MPJ, but other than him no other starter checked in for the rest of the game. The Nuggets were able to close the game out with ease — a score of 117-101.

Standouts tonight were Bones Hyland, putting up a career high seven 3 pointers made and almost eclipsing his career high of 27 points with 26 points tonight. Michael Porter Jr. also looked fantastic in his return putting up 22 points and 14 rebounds. Christian Braun also looked phenomenal with 10 points on 4/7 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Michael Malone wanted effort, defense, and rebounding tonight — that’s what he got. The Nuggets get their redemption from opening night.