A look at the Nuggets vs. Jazz series with an LA Clippers interest.
The LA Clippers have a must-win game tonight in their opening-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. They’ll be looking to put a halt to the rise of Luka Doncic and take control of the seven-game series with a win in a pivotal game five. The Clippers will need to handle their own business first, but should they be able to secure two more wins against the Dallas Mavericks, the winner of the Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz series will be waiting for them.
The Utah Jazz was able to win their first game in the series since taking game one, lead by an overall strong defensive effort and the offensive one-two-punch of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
Denver came out of the gates hot, lead by a scorching Nikola Jokic, who put up 21 points in the first quarter. The big man went a perfect eight-for-eight from the field, including five three-pointers. He added two rebounds and two assists while staying on the floor for the entire 12-minute run.
The Jazz was able to stand up against the offensive output from Jokic with a balanced first-quarter attack and were able to only trail the Nuggets by a single point at the break.
The second quarter was all Utah, as the Jazz outscored the Nuggets 31-21 to take a nine-point lead into halftime. The Jazz were able to spread the scoring around, with Jordan Clarkson leading the way at halftime with 14 points, getting 13 from Donovan Mitchell, and 11 from Joe Ingles in his best effort yet in the series.
Utah was able to build a 15-point lead early in the second half, however, Denver rallied to make things close again in the fourth quarter, leading to a back-and-forth battle down the stretch.
Once again, Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell put on a show for their respective teams. Mitchell took advantage of the Nuggets’ defensive adjustment of moving Jokic to the top of the key to take away the three-point shot by driving to the rim and finishing with authority multiple times. Murray woke up in the second half, finishing the game with 42 points after finishing the first half with a mere nine. Mitchell scored 30 in the losing effort.
Murray was able to hit a rattle-around-the-rim three-pointer on a broken play to put Denver up 106-101 with just over two minutes to play. After getting a stop, he hit another long step-back shot to extend the lead by two more points. Denver would hold the Jazz at arm’s length for the remainder of the game.
It wasn’t just Murray’s great play that helped Denver extend the series to a sixth game. The Nuggets were able to get crucial stops down the stretch and held the Jazz to a series-low 107 points. The Nuggets will need to keep up the strong defensive effort if they want to force a game seven with a win on Thursday.
The longer the series can go, the better it will be for the Clippers. Who take to the court tonight in hopes to win and take a 3-2 lead over the Dallas Mavericks in their opening-round, best-of-seven series.