Analysis: Bojan Bogdanovic was the star in the Jazz’s shorthanded win over the Nuggets
Bogdanovic scored 36 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out four assists, helping the Jazz overcome the absences of Rudy Gobert, Hassan Whiteside and Joe Ingles.
DENVER — The Utah Jazz beat Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, 115-109, on Wednesday night, and they did it without their starting center, Rudy Gobert, and their backup center, Hassan Whiteside.
- Bojan Bogdanovic was the star of the show on Wednesday, leading the Jazz with 36 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, and he did it all while hitting just one 3-pointer. Bogdanovic stepped up in a huge way with the Jazz lacking size against the Nuggets. While there were times he struggled to contain Aaron Gordon, Bogdanovic made up for those moments by rotating and helping out on Jokic and providing a huge boost while Donovan Mitchell was struggling to knock down shots.
Udoka Azubuike started for the Jazz not only in his return from an ankle injury, but on a night when the Jazz were going to be severely shorthanded in the front court. I’d be lying if I said I thought Azubuike was going to be successful. He’s been out for a long time and he had some rough games in the preseason, and pretty much hasn’t played anything other than garbage time for the Jazz since then. But he really did a good job considering the circumstances. He wasn’t perfect but he did a lot of really good things and held his own on a really tough assignment. I thought the most impressive thing was that he played really well without fouling a lot. He didn’t get his first foul until the second half.
“There were just a lot of good things, beginning with Dok...To come in and in his first NBA start to play against arguably the best player in the world right now — I thought the minutes that he gave us were just really important.” —Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
- The Jazz could have very easily gotten sped up and played a little chaotic on a night when they were playing with a depleted roster, but they were really under control. As a group they only committed seven turnovers.
“We did a great job. We controlled the boards and we controlled our turnovers. I think that is probably the fewest turnovers that we’ve had the whole season, we had less than less than 10. So just taking care of the ball and a lot of 50-50 balls that were around the floor they were all ours. I think that was big tonight.” —Bojan Bogdanovic
- This was a game when the Jazz really needed a lot of guys to step up and play aggressively and they absolutely did. Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gay, Eric Paschall, Jordan Clarkson, Trent Forrest — across the roster every player who was on the court had key plays and made the most of their minutes.
- On the other side, the Nuggets have been playing all year waiting for Jamal Murray to make a return from a torn ACL injury. At halftime, Nuggets fans got to see Murray in street clothes going one-on-one with Facu Campazzo. It’s got to be a good sign for the Nuggets that a return might be nearing.
- Mitchell did have an unusually quiet night both from a scoring and playmaking standpoint. It’s not really something that is a concern or a worry, everyone is going to have those games, and the Jazz made up for it where they needed to. Just a minor note.
- This is going to be a long road trip and the Jazz have a lot of guys that are banged up and bruised, as well as Joe Ingles in the health and safety protocols, Gobert dealing with a non-Covid illness, and Whiteside still dealing with concussion symptoms. That means extended minutes for the Jazz’s older players like Bogdanovic, Gay and Mike Conley and there’s a back-to-back set against Toronto and Indianapolis coming up next. The Jazz have their work cut out for them over the next few days.