When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Spotlight on Donovan Mitchell: The guard from Louisville is a rookie of the year contender, dazzling the NBA with his instant offense and pesky perimeter defense. He leads the Jazz with 18 points per game while also averaging 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals. He always will be attached to the Nuggets, who drafted him for Utah as part of the trade that sent Trey Lyles and the draft pick that became Tyler Lydon to Denver.
Jazz: The team is 2-8 in its last 10 games, including a 103-89 home loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday that dropped it to ninth place in the Western Conference. This stretch is part of the most difficult December schedule in the NBA, according to ESPN’s Power Index. … Utah is 2-0 against the Northwest Division rival Nuggets, coming back to win 106-96 at home in the teams’ season opener and posting a 106-77 rout Nov. 30. … Interior force Rudy Gobert is again sidelined with a knee injury, having sprained his left posterior cruciate ligament this month. He missed 11 games with a bone bruise in his right knee. … The Jazz entered Monday ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring defense (100.7 points allowed per game) and 23rd in scoring offense (101.7 points). Utah ranked 26th in pace of play at 96.82. … Rodney Hood is just behind Donovan Mitchell in scoring at 17.7 points per game.
Nuggets: After their best road stint of the season — back-to-back wins at Portland and defending NBA champion Golden State on Friday and Saturday — the Nuggets are back at the Pepsi Center, where they are 11-3. Their eight-game home winning streak was snapped with Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota. … Denver is 2-5 against division opponents, with five of those games (and four losses) coming on the road. … Gary Harris leads the Nuggets in scoring (16.1 points per game) while shooting 47.9 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from 3-point distance. He entered Monday ranked fifth in the NBA in steals at 1.9 per game. … Nikola Jokic is averaging 22.3 points, eight rebounds and 4.7 assists over three games since being re-inserted into the starting lineup after a sprained ankle. … Backup point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has missed the past four games with a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable to play against the Jazz. Starting center Mason Plumlee, who twice dislocated his finger Saturday against the Warriors, is listed as probable.
Published at Mon, 25 Dec 2017 22:53:37 +0000