In their first back-to-back of the 2023-24 NBA season, the Denver Nuggets did not disappoint. The Nuggets won 110-102 over the Utah Jazz on Monday night, earning a hard fought victory against a team that made them earn it.

Nikola Jokić had another triple-double, his 107th of his career to tie LeBron James and Jason Kidd for fourth all-time. It was another sublime all-around performance from Jokić as he continued to impact the game in a variety of ways.

Jamal Murray struggled shooting from the field, but he dished out 14 assists, a season-high. Murray is seeing the floor extremely well, and the Nuggets have the luxury of playing at least one elite playmaker for a full 48 minutes when he and Jokić stagger their minutes.

Here are my primary takeaways from the Nuggets matchup with the Jazz on Monday night:

Surviving a back-to-back

The Nuggets knew they’d have weaker legs heading into Monday night, the first back-to-back of the season and at altitude to boot. It was a strong effort in the first half though, with the Nuggets jumping out to an early 58-45 lead. Of course, the Nuggets only shot 6-of-20 from three-point range in the first half, which limited their ability to extend the lead.

In the second half, the Nuggets held serve with the Jazz, mostly countering every run the Jazz made with a solid run of their own. Jokić and Murray were playmaking from everywhere, and when the shots ere falling on the perimeter, Jokić and Gordon attacked the paint with force and precision.

Ultimately, the Nuggets lost the second half, but they did enough to retain the lead by committing to defense. Allowing just 102 points was a large factor, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope winning his fourth straight Defensive Player of the Game chain.

“K’s doing a great job. He’s definitely First-Team All-Defense, or at minimum “A” team,” shared Jamal Murray postgame. “You look at the guys’ shooting percentages, you look at the clips…he’s really tough to play against for 48 minutes.”

Christian Braun closes the game

It was surprising to see Michael Porter Jr. play just 19 minutes tonight. Though Porter played on the back-to-back, the Nuggets decided to go a different direction in the fourth quarter with Christian Braun closing the contest. Michael Malone shared that he probably should have gone back to Porter, but he still liked what he saw from Braun in those minutes.

“CB did a good job, but getting Michael back in that game, he’s a guy that obviously is coming off of a good game himself in OKC, one of our leading rebounders,” Malone shared postgame. “Michael will close most nights, but I thought CB was pretty good with that group in the fourth.”

Braun played 30 minutes off the bench and had nine points, eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal. There were moments late in the game when he was the primary matchup against Lauri Markkanen, and Braun held up defensively. In addition, Braun hit a three off a Murray post kick-out, something he’s still trying to improve in the early stages of the season. Having Braun fill the Bruce Brown role from last year as a versatile wing that can close games would be a tremendous value add for the season.

Jokic ties LeBron James for 4th all-time in triple-doubles

It wouldn’t be a Nuggets game without Nikola Jokić grabbing a triple double. Jokić had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists on 12-of-16 from the field. He secured his 10th rebound in the final seconds of the Nuggets win on Monday, earning his 107th regular season triple-double of his career to tie LeBron James and Jason Kidd on the all-time list.

Asked about how his style of play matches that of some of the greatest triple-double artists of all-time, Jokić shared that it was his all-around game that shared the most similarities.

“[Just] trying to affect the game in every possible way you can. Maybe that’s ‘versatile’.”

What’s Next

The Nuggets will travel to Minneapolis on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday evening.

Final Rotations