The Jazz and Nuggets will battle in a pivotal game four of their series in Orlando, FL. Denver took control of game one in overtime, but have fallen well short in each of the past two. Utah has looked like a totally different team.
The expectations for the Jazz were pretty low for the playoffs as deemed by those on the outside. With Bojan Bogdanovic out and Mike Conley Jr. expected to miss the first few games, things did not look promising against a tough Denver team. But now, with a 2-1 series lead, things have turned around fast.
The Nuggets have underwhelmed in the past two games, failing to keep the game close beyond the opening quarter. And so, their performance today is critical. They cannot afford to fall behind 3-1, especially to a team as hot as the Jazz.
And while they are down two starters, they still have no excuses. They need to work harder defensively and make sure to get Jamal Murray going early. He has struggled since game one.
Utah is a 3.5-point favorite for tonight’s matchup. The over/under is set at 215.5.
Jazz Trying to Stay Hot
They very well could have had a 3-0 series lead. But the team ran out of gas in the first game at the end of regulation. Donovan Mitchell’s 57 points were surprisingly not enough, and it seemed perhaps the series momentum would favor Denver moving forward.
But instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they just turned up the intensity. After a convincing game two win, Conley returned for game three, adding 27 points on seven three-pointers. This is why they brought him in. He is a more capable scorer than Ricky Rubio was, and gives them a serious boost.
They have gotten great production from Jordan Clarkson, while some of the other reserves have continued to look for their rhythm. A win, though, will have to be engineered by Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Denver Searching for Life
After consecutive losses, the Nuggets season is in peril. And a loss tonight could spell unofficial doom for them. The only way they are going to win this is with better ball movement and an improved defensive effort. They need to assert themselves early and get off to a fast start.
Jamal Murray was so impressive to close the first game out. But he has done little since then. That’s also on Jokic for not getting him more looks. He’s the creator of this offense. Both of them need to show why they’re as dominant as they’ve been to this point in time.
No rotation changes should be expected, but the guys on the floor need to know that Gary Harris and Will Barton are not walking through that door.
Nuggets Win a Nail Biter
The game will go to the wire. And Denver will close it out, as they did the series opener.