Nuggets Defeat Jazz 142-121 Despite Utah’s 3rd Quarter Rally

Jamal Murray, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, NBA News
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets showed no signs of slowing down during Saturday’s NBA action against the Utah Jazz, even with star center Nikola Jokic battling through a bruised right arm. Jamal Murray‘s impressive 37-point performance helped propel the Nuggets to a commanding 142-121 victory over a determined but ultimately outmatched Jazz team.

Jokic contributed 26 points, six rebounds, and eight assists, while Michael Porter Jr. added 19 points. The win brought Denver within a half-game of the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, who were idle on Saturday night.

Despite coming off a significant win against Boston, the Nuggets managed to maintain their momentum, leading by as much as 39 points in the first half. This substantial lead was crucial as the Jazz mounted a comeback in the third quarter, outscoring Denver 44-24 and cutting the deficit to just 14 points.

“That was embarrassing,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz Updates

Malone expressed pride in the team’s overall performance, except for the third quarter’s lapse.

“I was really proud of our approach to start the game,” Malone said. “To build a 39-point lead was outstanding. Unfortunately, coming out of the half, we did not do anything remotely close to what we did in the first half to get that lead.”

The Nuggets’ shooting prowess was on full display, with the team making 14 of 20 three-point attempts before halftime and finishing 19 of 32 from beyond the arc. Murray’s accuracy from long range was a highlight, with the guard making six of his nine three-point attempts.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz Updates

Jazz coach Will Hardy acknowledged the challenge of facing such a high-caliber team, especially with Denver’s exceptional perimeter shooting in the first half.

“I give a lot of credit to the Nuggets,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “I mean, 14 of 20 from three in the first half is pretty spectacular. And they’re a championship level team and when a team shoots the ball from the perimeter like that it’s a hard game to win.”

Despite concerns of an emotional letdown after their win over the Celtics, Malone and the Nuggets remained focused on maintaining their championship standards, regardless of the opponent.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz Updates

As the Nuggets look ahead to hosting Toronto on Monday, they aim to continue playing to their standards and building on their post-All-Star break success. The Jazz, on the other hand, will prepare to host Boston on Tuesday night, hoping to bounce back from this tough loss.

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