The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz kick off the 2020 NBA Playoffs with the first game on opening day at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Northwest division rivals will face each other in the postseason for the first time since 2009-10, when Utah won in 6 games. That Nuggets deal had a young Carmelo Anthony on it, while we all remember the Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer connection in Utah. This series should have a much different feel than that one a decade ago.
Final Update — The Nuggets somehow overcame a career game for Donovan Mitchell to take Game 1 from the Jazz 135-125. Mitchell finished with a career-high 57 points, exploding in the second half to help Utah force OT. The Jazz went cold in overtime and the Nuggets made it rain again from distance with multiple big shots from Murray and Jokic in OT. The pair combined for over 60 points for Denver, which will go up 1-0 in this best-of-7 series.
The over hit by a mile, closing at 214.5 points and moving up constantly throughout the game. The Nuggets also backdoor covered the spread due to the explosion in OT. The Nuggets were also without Gary Harris and Will Barton again. This team could be dangerous if it figures things out on the defensive end and gets those two key rotation players back in the fold.
Mitchell is the youngest player with at least 50 points in a playoff game since Michael Jordan. This was a pretty incredibly performance for Spida but all that matters is the win. Utah is in a 1-0 hole and will have to respond. Murray finished with 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field. Murray didn’t put up crazy numbers like Mitchell, but he hit some HUGE shots.
End of Regulation — We’re heading to OT people! Jokic missed a shot at the buzzer and it’s tied 115-115 after regulation. Mitchell is up to 51 points, which again, is a career high. Murray chose not to shoot late in the game and now the Nuggets will have to hold off Utah after blowing an early lead. Gobert played great defense on Jokic on that final possession.
JAMAL MURRAY CLUTCH UPDATE — Murray is out of control late in this game. He’s going back and forth with Mitchell and the game is timed 113-113. Murray has 10 points since that last update with under 4:00 to go. It’s been Murray vs. Mitchell late. Spida is up to a career-high 49 points and probably isn’t done. The Nuggets are back up 115-113 after a pair of Jokic free throws. It’s gotta be Mitchell in this spot with 26.5 second left to tie it.
Crunchtime update — D-Mitch is up to 45 points and is dominating this second half. The Jazz aren’t in this game without Spida. Murray has woke up since I mentioned him before, knocking down a couple shots to keep the Nuggets close. Mitchell is at the line and should get up to 47 points after these pair of free throws.
Fourth quarter update — The Jazz are crushing the Nuggets on the offensive glass. It’s still be a back and forth quarter with the Jazz leading 104-103 with under 4:00 minutes left. Murray has no points in the fourth quarter and is going to have to hit a big shot at some point, right? At 207, we’re definitely heading toward the Over. It’s also looking like the Jazz should cover if it’s a one possession game for most of the end here.
Fourth quarter update — The Nuggets have fought back and the Jazz only lead 90-89 a little over 4:00 into the fourth. Utah really just needs to give the ball to D-Mitch and get out of the way. Mitchell is up to 31 points and it doesn’t appear that Torrey Craig can stop him. Denver is sort of treading water right now. When will Murray show up and give them a boost? the Nuggets are living and dying by the 3-pointer and that just isn’t a recipe for success.
Third quarter update — So the Jazz woke up and took the lead, mostly because the Nuggets stopped shooting at a historic clip. Mitchell is up to 29 points and Gobert got things going, up to 15 points with 2 steals and 3 blocks. The Nuggets have really gone cold from the field and Utah has all the momentum going into the fourth.
Third quarter update — The Jazz have tied the game after a 7-0 run to start the third. The Nuggets will be hard-pressed to match their shooting from the first half and it looks like Snyder got through to Utah during halftime. Jingling Joe Ingles is having a solid game with Mike Conley out, posting 13 points with 4 boards and 4 assists early in the third. The live line on the O/U is up to 220.5, so if you got it at the lower number, we’re still looking good.
Halftime update — The Nuggets hold a 7-point lead at halftime up 59-52. It was a very sloppy first half. The final sequence was, well, ugly. We’re still only pace for around 220 points in the game with 111 in the first half, so the Over is still in play.
Donovan Mitchell leads all scorers with 19 points, but really the Jazz were awful on offense, shooting 41.3% from the field and 36.4% from 3-point range. Gobert and Royce O’Neale are in foul trouble, which bodes well for Denver’s bigs. Utah needs to step up the defensive intensity to get back into this one, other the Nuggets will keep getting whatever they want.
Second quarter update — Jamal Murray is heating up in the second quarter. He’s up to 14 points after hitting three straight shots. Jordan Clarkson and Quin Snyder both picked up technical fouls. The Nuggets are up by 10 and the Jazz still can’t defend the perimeter right now. Clarkson has been a nice sparkplug off the bench, but Rudy Gobert is having a lot of trouble on the glass.
First quarter update — The Nuggets are out to a 31-25 lead after the first quarter. Denver shot 50% from 3-point range in the quarter, which was clearly the difference. Both teams came out pretty sluggish and overall the pace of the game is down.
Nikola Jokic leads all scorers with 10 points, also posting 3 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr., who stuck in the starting lineup, also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. The Jazz shot below 40% from the field in the first and would have been in more trouble had it not been for a late-quarter trey from Jordan Clarkson. The offense for Utah needs to pick it up in the second quarter if this game wants to hit the over.
Before the game starts and we get into some live updates, let’s take a look at the betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Nuggets vs. Jazz closing lines
Moneyline: UTA (+155), DEN (-186)
The Nuggets haven’t moved as heavy favorites despite the Jazz being without Mike Conley (personal). The spread has actually dropped down since last night. The O/U seems very low despite two teams who play at a slow pace and are decent defensively. In the bubble, scoring has been up by almost 10 points overall. So that number may be worth a look.