NBA: Donovan Mitchell, Jazz blast Nuggets in Rudy Gobert's return

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 17 2022 11:56 AM

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives past Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland (3) in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives past Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland (3) in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, Rudy Gobert returned to action with 18 points and 19 rebounds, and the visiting Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 125-102 on Sunday night.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points, Jordan Clarkson had 16, Royce O'Neale finished with 11 and Eric Paschall scored 10 for Utah.

Gobert missed the last five games while in health and safety protocol and the Jazz struggled without him. Utah lost four straight and earned its first victory since winning at Denver on Jan. 4.

Nikola Jokic had 25 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists for the Nuggets. Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, Will Barton finished with 16 and Bones Hyland and Monte Morris scored 13 each.

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Denver led 31-28 late in the first quarter but the Jazz started to take control.

Clarkson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws, and after Zeke Nnaji's layup, Clarkson hit a corner 3-pointer and a 27-foot 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in the quarter to make it 37-33.

Utah continued its surge at the start of the second quarter. Paschall and Mike Conley hit layups and Hyland answered with a 3-pointer, but Paschall made a floating jumper and Gobert's two dunks put the Jazz ahead 47-36.

The Nuggets surged back, going on a 15-5 run to get within one, but Mitchell scored 11 points in the final 3:52 of the second to give Utah a 68-58 halftime lead.

The Jazz extended the lead to 73-60 early in the third quarter before Denver clawed back. An 11-2 run got the deficit down to four, and then eight points by Barton, including a three-point play, helped give the Nuggets an 81-80 lead.

Utah rallied to take a 91-88 lead after three quarters and then extended the lead in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.

Gobert and Paschall converted three-point plays, Conley hit a 3-pointer and Clarkson made a pair of free throws to cap a 15-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.

Jokic came back in and ended the run with an 18-foot jumper, but the Jazz never let them get closer than 10 the rest of the way.