The Utah Jazz traveled to Ball Arena to face the Denver Nuggets last night. They came into the contest without 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, C Rudy Gobert. Gobert is a key piece in the Jazz's defensive identity as well as an essential rebounder. The absence at center allowed the Joker to gobble all the boards he wanted, accumulating 21 of them. However, Jokic's stellar 26 points, 21 rebounds, and 11 assists were not enough to lift the Nuggets over the shorthanded Jazz. The Nuggets kept it close for all of the first half, only finding themselves down by 1 at halftime. Sadly, this would be the closest they'd come to leading for the rest of the game. The Jazz started the 3rd quarter firing, tallying up a double-digit lead that they would not concede. They outscored Denver in the 3rd period 31-22. SF Bojan Bogdanovic paved the way for Utah, exploding for 36 points, hauling in 13 rebounds, and adding 4 helpers. He posted a 60% clip from the field. F Rudy Gay contributed nicely off the bench, notching 4 of his 7 3-point attempts and finishing with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist. Star SG Donovan Mitchell was surprisingly held in check last night, only scoring 17 points. Outside of Jokic, the Nuggets didn't have any standout stat lines. SF Will Barton and PG Monte Morris both contributed 20 points. Only 4 Nuggets scored double digits in last night's contest compared to Utah's 6.
The shorthanded Jazz won this matchup by a score of 115-109, bringing their record to 28-10. They’ve won their past 8 of 9 games, and are showing everybody that they can be dangerous in the postseason. Denver’s record falls to 18-18, placing them at 8th in the Western Conference. They long for a supporting cast to help the Joker, who currently leads the Nuggets in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game. The hot Jazz continue their 5-game toad trip as they move on to Toronto for their next game. The Nuggets will host the Sacramento Kings tomorrow, January 7th.
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