The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets battled for fourth place in the West on Wednesday night. Both teams have had major struggles with having a healthy roster this season and both teams came in to this game depleted and missing their biggest stars. Utah did have all-star Mike Conley available tonight to steady the ship so to speak, but Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert can’t get healthy soon enough so we can get this team back in sync. The Jazz did come out a rare clutch win tonight in the first of a six game home stand and they played well compared to how they have looked in the last month.
Even though the Nuggets were without MVP Nikola Jokic, they still gave the Jazz a good run. Versatile guard Bryn Forbes torched the Jazz for 26 points and 4-5 from three point land. It seems like every time the Jazz play the Nuggets, they have trouble stopping Monte Morris and tonight was no different. He lead the starting group for the Nuggets with 15 points and 3 rebounds.
The Jazz accomplished something in that they didn’t cough up the 4th quarter lead like they have done so many times over the last 15 games. That is something that the younger players can hang their hat on. The Nuggets are not the kind of team that gives up easily and that was true tonight. The fact that the Jazz were able to hang tough and grind out the win is a big deal when it comes to building confidence and getting back to winning habits. This team is largely the same team from last year and if we can get healthy again before the playoffs then the experience the team is getting now could be invaluable in the playoffs. It’s especially encouraging to see Udoka Azubuike play well and pull down 10 rebounds. Mike Conley played an impressive game knocking down 3 threes and providing a steady hand down the stretch, but the Jazz were lead tonight by Trent Forrest with 18 points and 8 assists.
Any win is reason to breath a sigh of relief for the Jazz these days. It’s a good way to put the month of January in the rear view mirror and the team is now 1-0 during the new month of February. Let’s hope we can start a new win streak on Friday when the Jazz host the Brooklyn Nets.