December 28, 2019, Los Angeles, California, U.S: Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz, Saturday, December 28, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Ringo Chiu/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
- The Denver Nuggets (11-8) host the Utah Jazz (15-4) Sunday, January 31 at Ball Arena
- The Jazz are red-hot, owning an 11-game win streak and the best record in the NBA
- Odds, lines and the spread for Jazz-Nuggets can be found below
The Denver Nuggets (11-8) host the red-hot Utah Jazz (15-4) in a rematch of last year’s memorable first-round playoff series between the Northwest Division rivals Sunday, January 31. The Jazz are riding an 11-game win streak and own the best record in the NBA, while the Nuggets have won five of their last six. Tip is set for 3:30 pm ET inside Ball Arena.
Utah is simply playing on another level right now, coming off its second-straight double-digit victory against Dallas Friday night. Donovan Mitchell missed his second straight game in concussion protocol, but the Jazz didn’t miss a beat without their All-Star guard. Bojan Bogdanovic poured in a season-high 32 points in the 120-101 win.
Meantime, Denver had its five-game win streak snapped in San Antonio Friday thanks to a 119-109 loss to the Spurs. Nikola Jokic had a game-high 35 points and 10 rebounds in the final game of a five-game road swing that saw Mike Malone’s team go 4-1. Now, Denver returns to the Mile High City as the slightest of favorites against Utah.
Jazz vs Nuggets Odds
|Utah Jazz||-108||+1 (-118)||N/A|
|Denver Nuggets||-108||-1 (-104)||N/A|
Odds taken Jan 30 from FanDuel
The Jazz haven’t been this good since the Stockton-to-Malone Days of the late 90s.
After tonight’s win against the Mavs, the Jazz have:
11 straight wins (longest active winning streak in NBA)
9 straight games with 15+ threes (2nd longest in NBA history)
Utah has made 265 3’s in the month of January, the 2nd most in a calendar month in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/mM6jKYbhzA
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 30, 2021
Quin Snyder has coached Utah to a 15-4 mark so far — better than either LA team — giving the franchise the NBA’s best record. They’ve won 11 in a row, including the second of back-to-back victories against Dallas Friday. Those last two wins have come without Mitchell, who entered concussion protocol following several blows to the head Tuesday against the Knicks. He could return Sunday in Denver.
If Mitchell is good to go, he’ll rejoin a team that is utterly destroying the opposition. Utah has outscored opponents by 172 points during the roll, prevailing in ten of the 11 games by double digits. The lone exception was a 109-105 victory over — you guessed it — Denver on Jan. 17.
Early Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jordan Clarkson had a team-high 23 points in that win two weeks ago. Denver’s dynamic duo of Jokic and Jamal Murray had 35 and 30, respectively. But no other Nugget scored in double-figures and the result was a four-point loss. Denver ripped off five straight wins following the defeat and would no doubt love to avenge the outcome Sunday.
Despite Friday’s 10-point loss to the Spurs that snapped that streak, Malone’s group is still very much in the thick of the Western Conference, currently sitting in the fifth slot with an 11-8 record.
Jokic had a huge game in defeat, while Murray added 20 points — but had a scary moment in the fourth quarter.
The point guard injured his right hip after crashing into a stanchion near the Nuggets’ bench, tumbling after charging at and fouling Patty Mills on a 3-point attempt. Murray returned three minutes of game time later and Malone expects him to be OK Sunday.
Of course, Denver is a club that’s two lengthy playoff runs and knocked out the Jazz in an epic seven-game first-round playoff series last season after being down three games to one. The Nuggets are resilient — and the Jazz are motivated.
Not that Utah needed extra motivation following last season’s early playoff exit, but Mitchell and his teammates simply aren’t getting the respect they deserve.
“Aight. Shaq, I’ve been hearing that since my rookie year.”
Donovan Mitchell’s response to Shaq saying “you don’t have what it takes to get to that next level.” pic.twitter.com/VkPYkwGxfN
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 22, 2021
We’re still not sure if Mitchell will play Sunday. But certainly, the team seems to be playing with a chip on its shoulder in support of its star following the awkward exchange with Shaq.
The Jazz have been absolutely cold-blooded from beyond the arc this season, knocking down 319 3-pointers in 19 games. That’s the most by any team in NBA history through 19 games. Plus, Friday’s victory over Dallas marked the fifth time Utah has made 20 3-pointers in a game.
As noted above, there’s revenge factor on both sides. Denver wants to avenge that loss from two weeks ago, while Utah wants to win a second straight over the Nuggets after collapsing against them in the 2020 postseason.
Does the streak continue? Denver is motivated and back home. But when a team is in a zone like Utah, I’m not betting against it. While the game is essentially a Pick ‘Em, I’m riding Utah straight up in this spot.
The pick: Utah ML (-108)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.