DENVER – The Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 111-104 on Thursday night thanks to a series of successful three-point attempts and a resolute defensive performance that nullified the Nuggets’ star center Nikola Jokic.
Although the Jazz were missing point guards Spain’s Ricky Rubio and Brazil’s Raul Neto due to injury, they came together with an incredible team effort that helped them record one of their most memorable wins of the season of one of the league’s most in-form teams.
Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell once again contributed the highest points for Utah, netting 24 points, including six in the final two minutes, to help his team break its run of three successive defeats in away games.
Another shooting guard, Kyle Korver, also made a decisive contribution, posting 22 points, including six of 10 three point tries, while Australian small forward Joe Ingles stepped up in the absence of Rubio and Neto to finish with a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists.
Power forward Derrick Favors also had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while providing three assists.
But it was French center Rudy Gobert who emerged as the key player in the Jazz defense, as he successfully fended off Jokic, the undisputed leader and star of the Nuggets attack.
Jokic finished with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, as well as seven assists, but was unable to take his team to victory.
Canadian point guard Jamal Murray and small forward Will Barton were the top scorers for the Nuggets with 21 points each.
Barton also recorded a double-double by collecting 13 rebounds, while also providing three assists.
This was the Denver team’s fifth home defeat at Pepsi Center this season and their first since Jan. 15.
The Nuggets are second in the Western Conference with a 42-19 record, while Jazz now enjoy a 35-26 win-loss record and are sixth in the West.
The defeat means the Nuggets missed an opportunity to go top of the Western Conference table after the Golden State Warriors surprisingly lost to the Orlando Magic 103-96.