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Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets Recap: Jazz Open Flat - Finish Sharp; Win Season Opener

Utah Jazz defense buries the Denver Nuggets underground in a decisive second half.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz played their division and Rocky Mountain rival Denver Nuggets in the home opener at the Aunt Viv Arena. The Jazz jumped out to an 8-3 lead with surprise starter Donovan Mitchell in the lineup due to some standard Rodney Hood gastric distress. Unfortunately, the lead evaporated in the later part of the first half under a barrage of open three pointers from Gary Harris and Will Barton.

Highlights from the Jazz were few and far between in the first half. Mitchell had a few nice buckets and the Jazz had a lot of points in the paint but couldn’t buy a 3 pointer.

The Jazz lost the first quarter by nine. They kept the margin at nine at the half before a Joe Jesus special at the end of the third quarter closed the lead down to five. The intensity really ratcheted up in the fourth quarter as the Jazz bench unit finally clamped down on defense led by Ekpe Udoh.

Joe Jesus photoshop art borrowed from our friends in Brooklyn

The start of the fourth quarter was the Alec Burks show. He crushed it with dunks, three pointers, assists, and defensive plays. Then the defensive clamps were applied and the Nuggets stopped making shots from the paint, from the perimeter, and in transition.

Game Notes

Is Burks back? I’d say it is possible that Burks is back.

Rodney Hood couldn’t start the game due to his classic gastric distress. Someone needs to go get on the Vegan diet kick going around the league; alternately, we can spike his pre-game Gatorade with Pepto Bismol.

Donovan Mitchell gets his first NBA start as a result of the aforementioned GI distress. Donovan had some nice plays, had a few too many turnovers, but looked pretty composed for a rookie.

Rudy had a nice offensive stat line but was a step slow. He wasn’t quite at his all-NBA best today.

Derrick Favors looked spry but seemed to be on a Quin Snyder/refs minutes restriction.

Thabo Sefolosha did not have an impressive box score, but he easily led the team in plus/minus.

UTAH JAZZ Basketball is back! Let us rejoice SLCDunkers!