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Denver Nuggets fall to Utah Jazz 98-78, Danilo Gallinari scores team high 19 points

An Nguyen Avatar
October 23, 2015


Although fans would have liked to wrap the preseason up with a nice bow, the precautionary benching of key players ultimately proved to be too much to overcome for Danilo Gallinari and the Denver Nuggets. In this forgettable game, the Nuggets got a healthy dose of reality and a glimpse at the tough road ahead if they are to be competitive in the Western Conference.


First Quarter – Starters: Nick Johnson, Gary Harris, Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Jokic

The game started off with a 14-0 Jazz run, pretty much setting the tone for the rest of the night as the offense struggled to create anything without Emmanuel Mudiay or Jameer Nelson. It’s incredible that he’s already so vital to this team at just 19-years-old. Gallo started off aggressive as he was the only legit playmaking threat on the floor:

Malone split the first quarter minutes right down the middle for Erick Green and Johnson. Score with Johnson: 14-2 Jazz, with Green’s group going: 14-13.

Nuggets rallied a bit, but Trey Burke nailed a shot at the buzzer to sap any semblance of momentum the Nuggets gathered. Harris and Gallo led Denver scorers with 6 points and 5 points respectively.

End of the first: Utah 27 – Nuggets 16.

Second Quarter – Starters: Johnson, Green, Will Barton, Darrell Darrell, J.J. Hickson

Not my favorite lineup. Arthur shook off some rust with a pair of missed midrange jumpers, while Hickson was being Hickson and got the hook from Malone in favor of Faried, just 2 minutes into the quarter. Nobody emerged as a playmaker in this unit, and it showed as Utah kept the Nuggets at bay with a 12 point lead before Gallinari and Jokic subbed back in at the 8:00 minute mark. Gallo didn’t waste much time before he went back to work:

A big concern with the lauded rookie Jokic is his ability to defend big and athletic centers. It was exposed tonight as the Jazz found Rudy Gobert for lob after lob.

Harris continues his great play on both ends of the floor. The idea of him becoming the backcourt starter next to Mudiay is becoming more and more real, and I love it.

With 1 minute left in the second quarter, Gobert fouled Jokic out of pure frustration. The rookie had been getting under his skin in the first half and for the rest of the night. Those southeastern Europeans seem to have that annoyance skill down.

The Nuggets build a little momentum, but it is again stunted by another Trey Burke buzzer beater… unbelievable.

Halftime: Utah 52 – Nuggets 37.

Third Quarter – Starters: Johnson, Harris, Gallinari, Faried, Jokic

The third quarter was Gallinari vs. the entire Jazz five as he was single handedly keeping the Nuggets in the game with play after play.

Jokic settled down a bit, which was nice to see from the youngster. The Nuggets gained a little momentum off of back to back Arthur threes, but Burke makes another shot at the buzzer. UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE.

End of third: Utah 73 – Nuggets 58.

Fourth Quarter – Starters: Green, Harris, Barton, Arthur, Hickson

An interesting lineup, and one that screams experimental. Hickson turned the ball over in the first two minutes and is replaced by Jokic soon after – Malone again with a quick hook. Harris is replaced by Johnson and the non-playmaking lineup again rears its ugly head. Gallinari sat out the fourth, effectively ending any hopes of wrapping up preseason with a win. The white flag was officially waved as Malone replaces Green for Devin Sweetney with 5:00 minutes left.

Final: Utah 98 – Denver 78.


EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT | Oct. 23rd | Preseason Game No. 7 (4-3)


Gallinari, 19 points and 7 rebounds, was the single force powering the Nuggets tonight as he showed off an array of offensive moves and playmaking ability (although he was only credited with 1 assist and had 5 turnovers). Without him, one dreads to think about what the score could have looked like. If the Nuggets are to have any success this year, Gallo will have to be smack dab in the middle of it.



Nuggets run a nice play they’ve been practicing to perfection resulting in an easy Harris floater. Simple yet deadly.


The turning point of the game was the Jazz coming out of the gates on a 14-0 run, as well as Malone’s decision to end the preseason with caution by sitting multiple players. A certainly understandable decision, but man did I want to see Mudiay out there. I can’t get enough of the kid.


10-23-2015 Nugs @ UTA

Passing both the eye test and the box score test, Gallo shot well across the board with 8-13 shooting (2-4 from 3-point range) for 19 points. The low assist total does not accurately reflect his playmaking as Gallo had his fingerprints all over the Nuggets offense. His playmaking lead to many open shots, even if they didn’t go in, and hockey assists.

Arthur took five threes, which is a bit concerning, but it’s just preseason so we’ll see if this continues. He gives many people flashbacks of Brian Shaw, but I feel he can still be valuable to this team, at the very least in the locker room.

Harris was plainly told to let them fly as he took 16 shots tonight. The NBA sophomore played well despite the inefficiency and might have secured the starting shooting guard position with his play this preseason.


This game puts to rest a surprisingly exciting preseason as the Nuggets finish 4-3. Crazy to think that preseason games from this season would be more enjoyable than regular season games from last season’s regular season, but this is the type of entertainment we’re in store for folks. Look for Malone and the Nuggets to take these high spirits into the year and continue to build upon this incredible foundation.


REGULAR SEASON(!!!) lifts off for the Nuggets on Wednesday Oct. 28th as their orbits collide with our old pal Ty Lawson and the Rockets in Houston. Truly must-see TV.


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