Roadies: Bogdanovic scores 36, Jazz beat Nuggets 115-109
DENVER (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 36 points and the Utah Jazz stretched their road winning streak to 10 games by beating the Denver Nuggets 115-109 on Wednesday night.
Rudy Gay had 18 points and Donovan Mitchell added 17 for the Jazz, who have not lost on the road since a 107-100 setback at Orlando on Nov. 7.
Nuggets star Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 21 rebounds and 11 assists for his 64th career triple-double. Monte Morris and Will Barton added 20 points apiece.
Both teams had to adapt with their respective rosters depleted by injuries and illness. Rookie center Udoka Azubuike returned from an ankle injury that had sidelined him throughout December to make his first NBA start for Utah, with Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gobert sidelined.
Azubuike and Gay drew the assignment of guarding Jokic most of the night.
“He was really focused and ready. He gave us great minutes,” Bogdanovic said of Azubuike. “And Rudy has been big for us all season. Both of them did a great job.”
Up by one at halftime, the Jazz led by 13 in the third quarter and took an 88-78 lead into the fourth.
Denver fought back to within 94-91 on a 3-pointer by Morris off a feed from Jokic, but Bogdanovic had a layup and Royce O’Neale and Jordan Clarkson hit 3-pointers around a pair of free throws by Barton as Utah built a nine-point lead with just over six minutes remaining.
Denver again pulled within striking distance on a dunk by Jokic that narrowed the deficit to 113-109 with 44.3 seconds to play, but Bogdanovic made a pair of free throws in the final moments and the Nuggets failed to score again.
“They were aggressive,” Jokic said. “They made shots when they needed. We were hanging in there, but Bojan had a great game. We couldn’t stop him.”
The Jazz led 57-56 at halftime, fueled by Bogdanovic, who had 19 points in the first two quarters.
“It was a big win for us,” Bogdanovic said. “We controlled the boards. We controlled the turnovers. We were taking care of the ball and a lot of the 50-50 balls on the floor, they were all ours, so I think that was big.”
Jazz: Bogdanovic’s previous season high was 27 points against Philadelphia on Nov. 16. … F Joe Ingles was ruled out after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the first Jazz player to deal with COVID-19 this season. ... Whiteside missed a third consecutive game because of a concussion. … Gobert was held out with left shoulder inflammation. … F Eric Paschall rejoined the team after missing the previous four games to tend to personal matters.
Nuggets: C Vlatko Cancar is out indefinitely after breaking his right foot during Monday’s loss at Dallas. … Denver coach Michael Malone remains sidelined because of health and safety protocols, along with F Jeff Green and F Zeke Nnaji.
Jazz: Continue their five-game road trip at Toronto on Friday night.
Nuggets: Host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
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