Jazz snap Nuggets win two games in a row, ruining Nikola Jokic’s 9th triple triple – The Denver Post
Rest and ready, Jazz has arrived.
Having not played a game since Wednesday, Utah had its final run in the fourth inning to win Sunday’s game, 125-102. The Nuggets, playing their third game in four nights, were unable to keep up.
“The end of that third quarter was 10-4, and then they started 11-0 in the fourth round,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “…That’s when it really started.”
While Donovan Mitchell dominated with four goals and penetrated Denver’s defence, his supporting cast consisted of Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic most of all. Mitchell overtook Utah with 31 points, and Gobert added 18 points and 19 rebounds.
The Jazz overcame the Nuggets, 34-14, in the fourth inning to make Nikola Jokic’s ninth double of the season meaningless. With 25 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists, Jokic left the game against Russell Westbrook to lead the NBA in triples. It didn’t matter to the reigning MVP, whose displeasure and frustration were evident throughout the night.
Malone also pointed to the free-throw disparity, which ended 29-8 in favor of Utah despite Denver’s insistence on playing through the Jokic inside.
“I didn’t speak to (referrals),” Jokic said. “I really try not to talk to them because I try and then I get pushed out by the tech. So I don’t even try to talk to them anymore.”
Aaron Gordon helped counter the wave of Utah production with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Bones Hyland scored 13 points from the bench, but only shot 5 of 14.
Utah’s bench outperformed Denver’s 36-24, showing the depth and difference between both teams at half-time.
The Nuggets fell to 22-20 for the season and went on a two-game winning streak. They will be back on Wednesday with the Clippers.
The Jazz took a 73-60 lead to open the third inning, threatening to disrupt the game extensively. But the Nuggets responded with a 20-7 comeback of their own, fueled by an attacking mindset, attack and a connected defence. Will Barton and Gordon are at the center of the allegation.
If it wasn’t Barton playing downhill, finishing in and going close to the line, it was Gordon clearing the glass. Jokic, who won his second double in as many games late in the third quarter, helped facilitate a comeback. The 30-23 quarter took away Utah’s double-digit lead, and the Nuggets entered the fourth quarter with just 91-88.
Entering Sunday’s contest, for the first time in franchise history, the Nuggets recorded fighting games of more than 20 3-pointers or more.
“Not only are we making three shots, but what kind of footage are we creating?” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, praising their ability to find three corners.
“I think the other important part of that is how we get those things,” Malone said. “I think the movement of the ball, the 35 assists in face-to-face games, is an incredible number.”
One of the main reasons for their ranged attack was Hyland. After a recent trip, Malone chatted with his early rookie and encouraged him to be himself. But he also wants him to find a balance between blowing kisses in front of a crowd and staying quiet when the game tilts in his favor.
“You have to find a way to find a happy balance,” says Malone.
As Bogdanovic battered another player late in the first half, Malone could only bring his hand to his face. Utah took 34 points in the paint on its way to a 68-58 lead at halftime. In fact, the Nuggets don’t lose much on defense. Four Jazz players hit double numbers, and they took down eight by three as a team.
The Nuggets did not perform well for most of the first two quarters. Only Jokic (18 points) and Gordon (16 points) are reliable sources of attack. Jokic burned Gobert’s net in the post, finishing and past the defending Defensive Player of the Year.
At one point, Jokic was so frustrated with official employment that he went to hug bear Gordon to demonstrate how much Utah had protected him.
https://www.denverpost.com/2022/01/16/jazz-beat-nuggets-nikola-jokic/ Jazz snap Nuggets win two games in a row, ruining Nikola Jokic’s 9th triple triple – The Denver Post