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Nuggets come out flat, out-executed in loss to Jazz

Harrison Wind Avatar
November 24, 2016

 

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Behind 22 points from George Hill in his return from a right thumb sprain, 22 more from Gordon Hayward, and 19 points and 13 rebounds from Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz pounced on the Denver Nuggets early in the first and second halves on their way to a 108-83 victory

The Nuggets were ice cold from the tip and immediately fell behind 14-0 as Denver’s starters watched the Jazz hit their first five shots from the field.

That margin ballooned to a 19-3 Utah advantage through the middle of the first as the Nuggets were without their first field goal until a Wilson Chandler eight-footer dropped at the 7:24 mark of the quarter.

For the second straight game, rookie Jamal Murray light a spark for Denver, helping to bring the Nuggets back on a 21-7 second-quarter run. Denver eventually closed to within six points, at 53-47 entering halftime behind Murray and Chandler.

Denver’s second half began in the same manner as the first. Utah jumped out to a 17-3 third-quarter advantage as Jusuf Nurkic went to the bench with his fourth foul and suddenly the Nuggets trailed by 20 points, their largest deficit of the night.

Once again it was Murray trying his best to bring Denver back. Murray hit two of his five three’s in the third, but the Nuggets’ bench unit, which shined tonight was never able to undo the damage Denver’s starters did to begin both halves. Murray was the lone bright spot for the Nuggets tonight. The rookie now has back-to-back 20-point games after his team-high 23-point performance Wednesday.

The Nuggets starters, for a second straight game brought no energy to start both the first and second halves. Granted Denver was without Danilo Gallinari, but who know’s how much of a difference an injured Gallinari would have made. Denver’s bench outscored their starters 60-23.

For Denver, Emmanuel Mudiay scored just three points on 1-8 shooting. Will Barton scored one point on a free throw and 0-6 shooting. Jusuf Nurkic was 1-8 from the field as well, contributing to Denver’s 31.8 field goal percentage as a team.

Chandler led Denver’s bench with 13 points, while Nikola Jokic chipped in eight points, three rebounds, and six assists in 20 minutes.

Footnotes

Gallinari sat out tonight’s game in Utah with what the Nuggets described as “right thigh soreness,” and was replaced by Juancho Hernangomez in Denver’s starting lineup who scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds in his first start of the season.

“It’s just getting worse day by day,” said Gallinari describing his injury via The Denver Post’s Christopher Dempsey. “So we’re just trying to figure out what it is. I don’t know if it’s a strain, a bruise, we don’t know.”

“I’m sure that maybe the worst thing is it’s a strain,” Gallinari said. “That’s the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is just a bruise that is not behaving right.”

Gallinari may have an MRI when the Nuggets return to Denver Thursday. His status for Friday against Oklahoma City is in doubt.

Darrell Arthur saw his first action since November 5 and scored three points and grabbed one rebound in 15 minutes of action.

WHERE/WHEN

Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah | November 23, 2016 | Game No. 15

NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

Murray, for a second-straight game gave Denver’s bench the spark it needed to bring the Nuggets back into the game. Murray finished with a team-high 23 points, his second straight 20-point game.

BY THE NUMBERS

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-9-31-01-pm screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-9-31-06-pm

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Chandler gets Denver on the board

Murray goes up-and-under

Murray’s dish to Arthur

WHAT’S NEXT

Denver is back at Pepsi Center Friday, where they’ll take on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Game time is 7:00 PM MST.

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