The Utah Jazz followed up a pummeling of the Nuggets in game 3 with another huge win to take a 3-1 series lead riding the coattails of Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell is only the third player in NBA history to score multiple 50 point games in the same series. Jamal Murray put up a 50 piece of his own, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win.
Turning points in the game
There was some questionable refereeing the whole game, but there were two key calls down the stretch that shifted the momentum in Utah’s favor
- One play was the clear path foul by Millsap on Mitchell when the Nuggets were down by just one with around 4 minutes left to go. Mitchell makes both Free throws and Conley made a floater after the Jazz retained possession to put the Jazz up 5.
2. The Nuggets down 4 with 30 seconds left in the game and this happens
This is what Jamal had to say when asked about the play above
Jamal is maturing into the closer Nuggets need him to be
After securing the 5 year 180 million deal last offseason, Murray is showing us glimpses of why he was given the bag. The blue arrow scored 50 but he affected all facets of the game securing 11 boards and 7 assists while making 9 threes in the game as well.
21 of Murray’s 50 points came in the 4th quarter. Quinn Snyder put Royce O’Neale as the primary defender on Murray in games 2 and 3 which helped slow down Murray, but he adjusted and bounced back with a strong performance.
Free throws and Defense prove costly once again
Over the last 4 games, the Nuggets have the worst defense (defensive rating 131) followed by the Nets at 122.9. The Nuggets are not getting out of the hole they have dug for themselves unless Malone makes some adjustments.
A part of this can also be attributed to Gary Harris and Will Barton who are key cogs to what the Nuggets do on both ends of the floor. Though Harris has regressed offensively there is some optimism he will be back for their most important game of the season.
Donovan Mitchell has an answer for everything the Nuggets have thrown at him, Mike Malone seems to be out of options.
Donovan Mitchell attempted 5 free throws more than the rest of the Denver Nuggets Squad which is in part due to some questionable officiating as well as their lack off aggressiveness. They put up a much better fight compared to the last two games, but it was not enough.
Playing Jokic and Michael Porter at the same time might be close to impossible if they are not able to hold their own on the defensive end.
Is Mike Conley the Fred Van Vleet of these playoffs?
The acquisition of Bogdanovic and Mike Conley over the offseason was supposed to put Utah in the upper echelon of teams in the west. After an underwhelming season, there was little to no expectations from Conley going into the playoffs.The former grizzly seems to have turned a new leaf after the birth of his child averaging an absurd 26.5 points a game while shooting 69% from 3 and 65% from the floor.
Jokic NEEDS to make open shots from beyond the arc
Rudy Gobert is one of the best interior defenders in the league at the moment. Look at how far Gobert drops on this play just daring Jokic to shoot it. Jokic missing these shots makes it harder for the others to get to the rim. Keeping him honest and making him contest these shots is imperative to the Nuggets’ success.
There are a lot of positives to take away from this one and the Nuggets will be hoping to secure a win in the next one.