Jordan Clarkson, Jazz fend off Nuggets
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[January 18, 2021]
It didn't follow the script from
a memorable 2020 first-round series, but the visiting Utah Jazz
earned a bit of revenge and their fifth win in a row by defeating
the Denver Nuggets 109-105 in an entertaining rivalry showdown
Jordan Clarkson, not Donovan Mitchell, led the Jazz with a team-high
23 points off the bench. Mitchell, who averaged 36.3 points against
the Nuggets in their seven-game, first-round series last summer,
finished with 18 points after a rough start.
Bojan Bogdanovic, who couldn't play against Denver in the playoffs
because of a wrist injury, was a bright spot for Utah with 17
Rudy Gobert contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Conley
added 14 points and eight assists. Georges Niang provided valuable
backup minutes and scored 11 points as Utah won its seventh road
Nikola Jokic continued his torrid start to the season with 35 points, 14
rebounds and nine assists, but Denver fell behind early, finally took a
lead, but couldn't fend off the Jazz in the second half.
Jamal Murray picked up where he left off against the Jazz, whom the
Nuggets beat three straight times to advance after falling behind 3-1.
The Denver guard, who had a pair of 50-point games and averaged 31.6
points in the first round, scored 24 points in the opening half. His
offensive explosion and a 9-0 run helped the Nuggets take a 58-53
However, Murray didn't score in the third quarter and finished with 30
points after the red-hot first half.
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Utah Jazz guard Mike
Conley (10) controls the ball as Denver Nuggets guard Facundo
Campazzo (7) guards in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver pulled within 94-92 thanks to a Jokic basket, but Derrick
Favors followed with a three-point play and Mitchell attacked the
basket as Utah went ahead 103-94.
The Nuggets clawed back to within one with a late 7-0 run, but
Mitchell hit a tough turnaround shot and then Royce O'Neale sank two
free throws and made a game-clinching assist to Gobert in the final
The Jazz held a lead for most of the first half, going ahead by as
many as 10 points, despite Murray's blistering start and a quiet two
quarters by Mitchell. The Jazz's All-Star guard only scored two
points before the break on 1-of-10 shooting and six misses beyond
--Field Level Media
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