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Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets: 5 Things to Watch

Can Hayward keep up his consecutive points streaks?

NBA: Miami Heat at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

1 - Can Trey Lyles & the Utah Jazz stay hot from downtown?

On Thursday night the Jazz made a franchise record-tying 17 3-pointers at home against Miami. They went 17 for 30 which is a blistering 56.7%. Trey Lyles went a perfect 4 for 4. On Tuesday night against the Rockets the Jazz went 15 for 28 (53.6%) from deep. Lyles hit 2 for 3. The Jazz are now ranked 11th in 3-point field goal percentage on the season at 35.7%. The Nuggets are right behind the Jazz at 35.3%. For context, the San Antonio Spurs currently lead the league at 40%. If the Jazz and Lyles can continue their hot streak from the 3 line they will be knocking on the door of the 40% mark soon enough.

2 - Will Gordon Hayward continue his elite play?

Gordon Hayward is coming off two consecutive 30+ point games. It’s only the second time in Hayward’s career that he has had two consecutive games of 30 points or better and that was two seasons ago. It’s not just 30 point games either. Hayward has scored over 20 points in his last 6 games. This is the first time in his career he has scored 20 or more in 6 consecutive games. The Jazz are 8-3 this season when Hayward scores 20 or more.

3 - Can Jazz win despite injuries?

The Jazz are going to be short-handed again tonight. Here is the Utah Jazz injury report:

Why does this tweet have so many likes??? This is not a tweet we should be liking. 140 characters isn’t even enough to list all of our injured players (Alec Burks is also still out tonight). This was posted on Friday night so we will likely see updates as we approach the game. On a radio interview yesterday Dennis Lindsey said that they didn’t know if George Hill’s injury was a 24 hour injury or a one week injury. This appears to be the play where Hill injured his toe:

Here’s a Hood and Hill update from Andy Larsen:

4 - The Denver Nuggets are on the second night of a back to back.

The Nuggets lost to the Houston Rockets at home last night by 18 points. The Jazz beat the Rockets at home by 19 points four nights ago. I think you can see where this is going: the Jazz should beat the Nuggets by 37 points tonight. Also, the Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors two nights ago which means that the Jazz are basically better than the Warriors. On a completely unrelated note: the Jazz are 3-1 in their last 4 games. They better not blow it against the Nuggets tonight.

5 - How will Dante Exum play?

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

Dante started and played 18 minutes against the Heat in George Hill’s absence. To put it frankly, he didn’t play very well and hasn’t had a great start to the season so far. He went 1 for 6 from the field, committed 4 turnovers, and was a -6 for his +/- on the night in a game the Jazz lost by 1 point. With Hill out again tonight, Exum will likely see similar minutes. The only stat that I want to see Dante perform well with tonight is plus-minus. Dante has not had a positive plus-minus since November 17th in a loss against the Bulls. He even had negative plus-minus in 3 Jazz blowout wins since that Bulls game. While there can be a lot of noise in plus-minus stats the bottom line is that the Jazz are being outplayed when Dante is on the court right now. Tonight’s a chance to turn that around.