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Instant analysis: Jazz win streak comes to an end after loss to Nuggets

The Utah Jazz’s 11-game win streak ended on Sunday with a 128-117 loss to the Nuggets in Denver.

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, left, drives to the basket as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, front right, and center Rudy Gobert defend in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Denver.

David Zalubowski, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz’s 11-game win streak ended on Sunday with a 128-117 loss to the Nuggets in Denver.

High Notes

  • Nikola Jokic had 22 points by the end of the first quarter and 33 of his 47 points by halftime. It was clear very early on that the Jazz were not going to be able to stop him or even slow him down much. He was hitting from everywhere and in all ways, just a really impressive performance.
  • The Nuggets played the best defensive game of any Jazz opponent this season, rotating onto shooters with speed and getting into passing lanes. It’ll be good game tape to go back and watch for the Jazz to look at what the Nuggets were doing to disrupt them so much.
  • The Jazz’s third quarter was the most balanced and they were able to cut the Nugget’s lead to single digits with more focused defense and scoring across the roster.

“I think we just pretty much just played with more energy on the defensive end. We tried to make it tougher for Jokic, obviously, and for their guards and we got some key stops. On offense we were moving the ball, making the extra pass and guys were making 3s and getting to the line and attacking the basket. I think in the third quarter we just picked up the energy.” — Derrick Favors

  • Despite the loss there are a couple of good things to point to from the Jazz. They were able to get to the line quite a bit and actually shot well from the free throw line going 33-of-39 compared to the Nuggets 16-of-19.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic had a second straight game looking more comfortable. He shot the ball well and was aggressive in playing through contact, getting to the line more than any other Jazz player and going 8-of-10 from the charity stripe en route to a 29-point outing. 

Low Notes

  • The Jazz were down 14 at the end of the first, which is not horrible, but they came into the second quarter looking completely out of sorts. Their offense looked broken on multiple possessions and Donovan Mitchell was settling for tough contested 2s more often than the team was looking to drive and kick.
  • Once the Jazz cut the Nuggets lead in the third quarter they really had a chance to make a game of it, but they fell back off on the defensive end. On the offensive side there wasn’t much of a push. The Jazz’s main rotational players took just 12 shots in the fourth.

Flat Notes

  • In his first game back after missing two due to the NBA’s concussion protocol, Mitchell had a rough day on the court going just 3-of-12 from the field and finishing with 13 points. He said that he was feeling fine and there weren’t any lingering effects from the concussion and credited Denver’s defense for doing a good job.
  • The Jazz tried multiple defensive looks on Jokic including Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, but there wasn’t anything that they were doing effectively enough that made much of a difference.
  • More than anything there was a lack of urgency and effort that was visible from the Jazz on Sunday and that’s the worst part about this loss.

“It’s on us to make sure we come out and make them feel us even more be a little more physical.” — Rudy Gobert