Denver At Utah
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Saturday, December 3, 2016
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Utah Jazz must fight injuries again in their quest to end a four-year playoff drought as they prepare to host the Northwest Division-rival Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Forward Derrick Favors (knee) is out indefinitely while point guard George Hill (toe) and shooting guard Rodney Hood (hamstring) are questionable after missing Utah’s 111-110 loss to Miami on Thursday.
The Jazz have high expectations and the loss against a sub-.500 team — ending a four-game winning streak — still hurt, especially because another big scoring night from Gordon Hayward was wasted. “We didn’t deserve to win the game,” Utah coach Quin Snyder told reporters. “Miami outplayed us. By the time we woke up defensively, it was late and we had to expend a lot of energy.” Denver has dropped four of its last five games after a 128-110 setback against Houston on Friday at home, but is having more success on the road (4-5). Wilson Chandler continues to lead the way for the Nuggets, scoring 24 points off the bench in the loss to the Rockets.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBATV, Altitude (Denver), ROOT (Utah)
ABOUT THE NUGGETS (7-12): Guard Will Barton returned from a three-game absence because of an ankle injury to score 17 points while adding seven rebounds and five assists against Houston. Small forward Danilo Gallinari has scored in double figures in all 16 games he has played this season and contributed 33 combined the last two games after missing three with a thigh injury. Jamal Murray, who was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November, was 1-of-7 from the field Friday.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (11-9): Hayward averaged 31.5 points and hit six 3-pointers over the last two games to raise his team-leading mark to 22.1 while contributing 6.6 rebounds per contest. If Hill (20 points) and Hood (16.1) can’t go, that takes the second- and third-leading scorers out of the lineup and the Jazz will need another strong performance from Joe Johnson as the veteran scored 18 against Miami. Trey Lyles has stepped up his production during the last four games, recording 13.3 points per game and is averaging 9.5 overall.
1. The Jazz have won six of the last seven meetings, but split a pair of meetings already this season.
2. Denver F Nikola Jokic, who averaged 15 points and 12.5 rebounds the previous two games, missed Friday’s game with a wrist injury and is questionable.
3. Utah PG Dante Exum started in place of Hill on Thursday and continued his struggles while going 1-for-6 from the field with four turnovers in 18 minutes.
PREDICTION: Jazz 102, Nuggets 94
Stats and Records
Utah Off vs
99.3 Points For
109.7 Points Against