NBA Western Conference First Round
August 19: Game Two – Utah Jazz versus Denver Nuggets
After winning all three games between the teams during the regular season, the Nuggets defeated the Jazz in Game One in overtime by the score of 135-125. The Nuggets enter the game as a 4-point favorite with an over/under of 217 ½.
The good news for the Jazz is that Donovan Mitchell was on fire, hitting 19-of-33 from the floor and 13-for-13 from the free throw line, scoring 57 points. The bad news it the Jazz still lost by ten points. Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson chipped in with 18, while Rudy Gobert added 17.
For the Nuggets, they were led by their top scorer during the regular season, Jamal Murray. He hit 6-of-9 from three-point range and scored 36 points. Nikola Jokic added 29 and drilled 4-of-7 from long range. Jerami Grant chipped in with 19, while Monte Morris, Michael Porter Jr, and Torrey Craig each scored in double-digits, displaying Denver’s deep roster.
During the regular season, the teams were even or never even in several major statistical categories. They both average 111.3 points per game and are nearly even in rebounding, while the Jazz gave up just a tad less per game at 108.8 to 109.2. Utah has taken care of the ball better, turning it over just 13.1 times per game compared to 14.6 for Denver. Utah is the best three-point shooting team in the league at 38 percent, while the Nuggets are average at 35.9 percent.
The 4-point line may be a little surprising considering a 10-point win for the Nuggets in game one. However, the game went to overtime and the margin of victory for the Nuggets in the three games this season was 6, 3, and 2. Mitchell is very unlikely to come anywhere close to the 57 points in game one, so the Jazz will need to keep the game lower scoring to pull out a win. I expect the Nuggets to continue their winning ways against the Jazz. Ill Take the “under” and for the Nuggets to cover to go up in the series, 2-0.