Denver Nuggets were trampled 124-105 by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday as Donovan Mitchell's 30 points and Jordan Clarkson's 26 enabled Jazz to equalize their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
In the pursuit to even the series for Utah, Mitchell chipped in with eight assists. Utah gathered 32 assists on 45 and sank 20 of 44 shots from the 3-point arc. Also, Royce O'Neale contributed with a career-high eight assists to bolster the offense.
Nuggets Trail Second Half
Nikola Jokic scored 28 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists to lead Denver. Michael Porter Jr. added 28 points for the Nuggets, who trailed the entire second half. Utah dominated inside and outside on offense from the opening tip. The Jazz shot 23 of 44 (52.3 percent) from the field before halftime and hit 10 3-pointers. They had 19 assists on those 23 baskets.
Joe Ingles provided the early spark. His back-to-back baskets helped Utah carve out a 15-8 lead in the first quarter. The Jazz hit six of their first seven shots, with Ingles providing three baskets. Denver took an 18-17 lead on a jumper from Jerami Grant only to see Utah counter with a 10-0 run. Clarkson sparked the spurt with a go-ahead 3-pointer and capped it with back-to-back baskets.
Utah's Continued Lead
Porter kept the Jazz from adding to their lead early in the second quarter. He scored Denver's first 12 points in the quarter and it helped the Nuggets briefly surge ahead 42-39. Utah clamped down on both ends of the court and pulled away before halftime. Rudy Gobert's buzzer-beating putback dunk capped a 22-6 run that gave the Jazz a 61-48 lead. He had three baskets in that stretch and O'Neale added a pair of 3-pointers.
Utah stretched its lead to 81-62 in the third quarter after making five straight 3-pointers. Ingles and Mitchell each knocked down a pair of outside baskets in that stretch. Denver got no closer than a dozen points the rest of the way. The Jazz exploded for 43 points in the third quarter overall. Mitchell scored 21 of his 30 points in the quarter.
(With inputs from agencies)