Clarkson scores 27 points to help the surging Jazz beat the Nuggets 124-111

Thu, Jan 11, 2024
NBA News (AP)

Clarkson scores 27 points to help the surging Jazz beat the Nuggets 124-111

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Jordan Clarkson had 27 points and nine assists to send the Utah Jazz past the Denver Nuggets 124-111 on Wednesday night for their ninth victory in 11 games.

After beating Philadelphia and Milwaukee on the road, Utah earned its third win in five days over an elite team by taking down the defending NBA champions.

Lauri Markkanen added 26 points and 12 rebounds, Collin Sexton scored 22 and John Collins had 15 points for the Jazz (19-20), who shot 55% from the field and finished with 18 fast-break points.

Nikola Jokic scored 27 points and was nearly perfect shooting - 8 for 9 from the floor and 10 of 12 at the foul line - but didn't get a lot of help. Denver had won six straight road games since a Dec. 6 defeat at the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Jamal Murray scored 17 points, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon each had 12 for the Nuggets (26-13).

Jazz reserves, a key to the team's recent surge, outscored their Denver counterparts 53-38 as Utah won its sixth in a row at home.

Clarkson is the leader of the bench gang and he shot 12 for 19 and had three 3-pointers along with a bundle of highlight-reel passes to teammates for dunks and open jumpers.

After trailing by 23, the Nuggets got aggressive by exploiting mismatches on switches and driving hard to the basket in the third quarter. The Jazz were in the penalty 4:07 into the period and the Nuggets soon got within 13.

But the suddenly indomitable Jazz, who led by 25 in the second half, responded with a quick 9-2 run.

Jokic was visibly frustrated when Markkanen's driving layup put the Jazz back up by 20. He slammed the ball on the court and shook his head while going to the timeout huddle.

The Jazz closed the first half on a 19-7 run to lead 71-53 at the break. Clarkson, who had 16 points and seven assists in the half, scored or assisted on 11 of Utah's 13 second-quarter baskets.

Early on, the Jazz scored on six straight possessions and took an early 23-9 lead.

The Nuggets have lost six straight in Salt Lake City. Their last win was Feb. 5, 2020.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

Jazz: Host the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

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