Nikola Jokic matched his career high of 47 points, collected 12 rebounds, and dished out five assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 128-117 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz on Sunday.
Will Barton scored 18 points and Jamal Murray added 16 for the Nuggets. Barton (six) and Murray (five) combined for 11 assists. Denver snapped Utah’s 11-game winning streak after shooting 54 percent from the field and making 18 of 28 3-pointers (64.3 percent).
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 29 points to lead the Jazz. Utah had seven players score in double figures but could not keep up with the Nuggets’ blazing shooting in the end.
Denver came out on fire on offense in the first quarter. The Nuggets made 16 of 20 shots during the quarter — including 8 of 8 from behind the 3-point line.
Jokic led the way. He did whatever he wanted against Utah’s defense during the first quarter. Jokic poured in 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting to power Denver’s offense. That represented a career best for Jokic for most points scored in any quarter.
Utah grabbed an early 9-8 lead after scoring 3-pointers on three straight possessions. Royce O’Neale, Bogdanovic, and Donovan Mitchell each made an outside basket. The Nuggets countered with back-to-back 3-pointers from Paul Millsap and Barton. Their baskets sparked an 18-4 run that put Denver in control.
Jokic had three baskets in 80 seconds late in the run, giving the Nuggets a 26-13 lead.
Denver did not cool down in the second quarter. The Nuggets eventually shot 15 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half and 29 of 44 from the field (65.9 percent). They led by as many as 27 points before halftime, going up 79-52 after Jokic made a hook shot and hit a pair of free throws on back-to-back possessions.
Jokic totaled 33 points on 13-of-17 shooting by halftime.
Utah rallied in the third quarter, cutting a 28-point lead to single digits after making eight 3-pointers in the quarter. Clarkson’s back-to-back treys cut Denver’s lead to 99-91, capping a 30-11 run by Utah.
The Jazz could get no closer.