Game Thread: Utah Jazz host a depleted Denver Nuggets team

Four straight losses have the Utah Jazz reeling, but they will have the chance to get back on track tonight against the shorthanded Nuggets.

After winning 19 of 21 games, the Utah Jazz are suddenly riding a four-game losing streak. It has the fan base on edge, considering every game counts towards seeding in the Western Conference. They need a win and some momentum going into the All-Star break, that’s for sure.

During this four-game losing streak, the Jazz have allowed two guards (Eric Gordon and Damian Lillard) to hit the 50-point mark. It’s certainly not a good look for a team that is known for their defense.

Both the players and coaching staff know that they have to get back to being a defensive-minded team. They simply haven’t been locked in on that end of the court during this losing stretch, so let’s see if they can turn it around tonight after three days of rest.

The tough schedule for the Jazz continues tonight with the Nuggets in town. Denver had just beaten Utah last week, so the Jazz are looking for revenge. Luckily, the Nuggets are vulnerable at the moment.

Denver is on the second night of a back-to-back and are playing their fourth game in six nights. They have multiple key players on the injury report, and will be even more shorthanded after taking part in a blockbuster trade last night.

Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangómez and Jarred Vanderbilt were all shipped to Minnesota, with Denver receiving Jordan Bell, Shabazz Napier and a first round draft pick. They, obviously, won’t be available to play tonight.

Utah is well rested, having been off since Saturday, like I mentioned earlier. I’d like to see them start the game with energy and aggression. Let’s hit Denver with a punch and put them away early, right?

The Jazz have lost games like this before though, so they can’t take these Nuggets lightly, especially after having just lost to them recently. It’s not going to be an easy game. Let’s hope our guys come in mentally prepared and get the job done.

Game Data

Broadcast Info

Tip-off: 7:00 PM on February 5th from Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM and 1280 AM Salt Lake City)

Projected Starting Lineups

Utah Jazz                Position                Denver Nuggets

Rudy Gobert                C                       Nikola Jokic

Joe Ingles                    PF                      Torrey Craig

Bojan Bogdanovic     SF                      Gary Harris

Donovan Mitchell      SG                      PJ Dozier

Mike Conley                PG                      Jamal Murray

Injuries

Tony Bradley is not listed on the injury report after missing the previous two games with a right knee sprain. We’ll see if he can reclaim those backup center minutes for the Jazz.

The trio of Jarrell Brantley, Miye Oni and Justin Wright-Foreman are all on G-League assignment, so they will not be available for tonight’s game.

Will Barton III is dealing with right knee inflammation and is questionable to play tonight. He played 24 minutes last night against Portland. He had 18 points the last time these two teams played.

Jerami Grant sprained his ankle in last night’s win over Portland, but is questionable to play tonight against the Jazz.

Michael Porter Jr. is doubtful to play for the Nuggets due to a right ankle injury. He’s missed the last two games as well. Denver is going to be extra careful with their prized 21 year old.

Mason Plumlee has a right cuboid injury and will not play against the Jazz. This will be his seventh straight game on the sidelines.

Paul Millsap will miss his 16th consecutive game tonight thanks to a left knee contusion. The former Jazzman is nearing a return, but it won’t be tonight.

Prediction

I’m thinking the Utah Jazz will get off to a fast start and maintain a double-digit lead, but I do see the Nuggets hanging around and keeping themselves within striking distance. They’re shorthanded, but they are a real tough group.

With that being said, I’m picking the Jazz to bounce back and end this four-game losing streak. I’ll predict the final score to be 113-95 in favor of the Jazz.

Next: Mike Conley is back in the starting lineup, where he belongs

Discussion

#DENatUTA is the hashtag on Twitter, and as always the comment thread will be available for some live game chatter. Go Jazz!

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