The Denver nuggets (16-10, 7-3 at home) earn a victory against their division rivals, the Utah Jazz (15-14, 6-9 away) 115-110. The Nuggets led the entire first half and barely let the Jazz lead. Jokić recorded 31 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists and notched his 80th career triple-double. Jamal Murray didn’t miss a step after his game-winning shot at Portland, Murray scored 19 in the first half and finished with 30 points.
The Jazz were led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker, he finished with 27 points and 5 three-pointers made. Alexander-Walker stepped up in the absence of a few Jazz starters, his season average before this game was 5 points per game. Malik Beasley also had a good game, he finished with 19 points and 4 of his own three.
After losing the first caution, Nikola Jokić scores the first basket of the match on an offensive rebound. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes a three and puts the Nuggets 7-0 up, Malik Beasley and Kelly Olynyk both make a three to call. Jamal Murray gets a nice floater to go into 2 action with Jokić, Jokić then connects on a step back at three. We have a Murray Flurry to start this game, after Jokić’s three, Murray made 3 consecutive baskets. Including, this beautiful acrobatic finish.
The Nuggets have shot 9 in a row. After the Jazz timeout, Jokić throws a lob pass from the post to Aaron Gordon. The Jazz continue to connect from three, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kelly Olynyk combined for a perfect 5-5 shot from front three. With 5 minutes left, Jokić misses Nugget’s first shot since Aaron Gordon missed the first shot of the match. With Denver Subs on the bench and both teams strengthening defensively, Christian Braun immediately took to the field and forced a turnover with his scramble. The Nuggets put Utah on an 11-2 run after winning 8 points. Bruce Brown scores in the last second and puts the Nuggets up 28-26 after the first quarter.
* Coach Malone returned to the locker room for back problems in the first quarter, he returned in the second quarter. *
Jamal Murray comes into play at the start of the quarter, he continues on a three on the first possession. Bones Hyland then reverses one of his own on an assist from Murray. After Bones’ shot, Denver gives up an 8-0 run. Talen Horton-Tucker scores 6 straight for Utah, but Jamal Murray stops the bleeding with a turnover shot to beat the buzzer.
The rest of the starters check in and, as they do, Jamal Murray checks in. Once Jokić returned to the game, the Nuggets outscored the Jazz 10-7. KCP earns a three-pointer after performing an incredible pass simulation.
Aaron Gordon jumps the passing lane for a steal and is rewarded at the other end of the field with a slimy alley-oop. Nikola Jokić also gets a rare dunk to land on the next possession. Jamal Murray scores consecutive baskets for the Nuggets, increasing the lead to a game-high 9. Denver ends the half on a 10-2 run, with the Nuggets leading 61-52 at halftime.
THT gets an and-1 to start the second half for Utah, and KCP starts things off for Denver with a layup. Nikola Jokić assists on the first 3 baskets of the Nuggets, Nikola is only 4 rebounds from a triple-double 11 minutes from the end of the 3rd. Denver calls a timeout after only forcing the Jazz to miss a shot once in the first 4 minutes of the quarter. The Jazz are on a 16-9 streak. Although they are less than 2 points from the lead, the Jazz have still not managed to take the lead. Jamal Murray continues to stay hot, making a nice step through the post shot before being taken off to stagger the minutes with the bench.
Nikola Jokić is fouled on consecutive possessions while trying to post. The Nuggets go 5:06 minutes without scoring to give Utah their first lead of the game at 81-80. Denver regains the lead right away and Bones hits a tough three to put Denver back by 2 again. Jokić played all but the last minute and nine seconds into the third, he and Jamal Murray played big minutes as the only starters on the pitch. Christian Braun finished an and-1 on an assist from Jokić and put the Nuggets ahead 5. The Nuggets immediately gave up that 5-point lead but a last-second field goal from Jamal Murray gave them the lead before the fourth. Denver is up 92-90.
Utah doesn’t want to go down easy, scoring in the first 15 seconds of the final quarter. Walker Kessler receives a technical foul shortly after. Rudy Gay connects on a three, his first points of the game, then passes DeAndre Jordan for a layup and grabs Utah’s biggest lead of the game. The Nuggets have surrendered a 7-1 streak since the start of the 4th. Denver scored their first basket after 2 minutes and 21 seconds of play. Bones Hyland hit a huge three-pointer, he reduced the deficit to 1. Bones then lobbed DeAndre Jordan and regained the lead for Denver. Nikola Jokić returns with a 1-point lead and 7:03 left in the game. THT completes another and-1 but misses the free throw and Jokić scores on the other side. Horton-Tucker still finishes one-and-1, and Utah is up 1 with less than 5 minutes left. Gordon completes a disputed layup and restores Denver to the lead. Nikola Jokić is then fouled on consecutive possessions and Denver now leads by 5. Nickeil Alexander-Walker gets a 4-point play on Jamal Murray late in the game, the Nuggets contest the call and it is waived. The basket still counts, but it’s only a three-pointer and not a 4-pointer. The Nuggets turn the ball over on back-to-back possessions but are able to hold the lead behind a Bruce Brown dunk.
Jokić blocks THT’s shot to himself out of bounds forcing a turnover, he goes downfield and misses a shot. THT takes a deep three and it’s away, Jazz fouls Jokic with 10 seconds left. He makes one and misses one, making it a three-point lead for Denver. THT takes a deep three and it’s away, Jazz fouls Jokic with 10 seconds left. Alexander-Walker takes the shot and it’s airballed, Murray hits his free throws and the game is over, Denver wins 115-110.
The Denver Nuggets will face Washington Wizards Wednesday, December 14. This will be Denver’s second home game in a streak where they will play 6 of 7 home games.