Bojan Bogdanovic Drops 36 as Jazz Beat Nuggets Despite Nikola Jokic's Dominance

Doric SamJanuary 6, 2022

Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, left, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Utah Jazz remained one of the NBA's hottest teams with a 115-109 road win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. Bojan Boganovic led the way with a season-high 36 points and 13 rebounds as Utah improved to 28-10.

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

🚨 πŸ…±πŸ…ΎπŸ…ΆπŸ…΄πŸ†ˆ πŸ…³πŸ†„πŸ…½πŸ…Ί 🚨<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeNote?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeNote</a> <a href="https://t.co/zFvtZn4ryP">pic.twitter.com/zFvtZn4ryP</a>

It was Bogdanovic's first 30-point, 10-rebound game of his career. Donovan Mitchell added 17 points. Utah was playing without star center Rudy Gobert, who sat out with a non-COVID-19 illness.

For the Jazz, it was their 10th consecutive road victory and eighth win in their last nine games. The only loss came to the Golden State Warriors, who have the best record in the league. With the victory, Utah remains undefeated against Northwest Division opponents at 9-0.

The Nuggets fell to 18-18 after their second consecutive loss. Nikola Jokic led the team with a monster triple-double with 26 points, 21 rebounds and 11 assists.

Notable Stats

F Bojan Bogdanovic, UTAH: 36 points, 13 rebounds

G Donovan Mitchell, UTAH: 17 points (8-of-22 FG)

C Nikola Jokic, DEN: 26 points, 21 rebounds, 11 assists

Jazz Ride Bogdanovic's Big Night to Victory

The best thing Utah has going for it this season is its depth. The Jazz can win in many different ways, with different players taking over at different times.

On Wednesday night, it was Bogdanovic who led the way. He started the game hot, and the team kept feeding him. Known for being a three-point specialist, he instead did most of his damage from inside the arc and at the free-throw line. He finished with 19 of his 36 points in the first half.

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

5 early points from <a href="https://twitter.com/44Bojan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@44bojan</a> <a href="https://t.co/qnU1LWkThX">pic.twitter.com/qnU1LWkThX</a>

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

defense ➑️ offense<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeNote?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeNote</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/44Bojan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@44bojan</a> <a href="https://t.co/sjbd6oXeSv">pic.twitter.com/sjbd6oXeSv</a>

Coming out of the break, Mitchell was more aggressive looking for his shot and attacking the basket.

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

making the clock work for you πŸ•·<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/spidadmitchell?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@spidadmitchell</a> <a href="https://t.co/q6ZK4b4STC">pic.twitter.com/q6ZK4b4STC</a>

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

Don with his Mike impression 🎈 <a href="https://t.co/Z8PUSup6sr">pic.twitter.com/Z8PUSup6sr</a>

But it was Bogdanovic's night. He took advantage of his size and punished Denver's smaller wing players with frequent post-ups. He was also able to get to the free-throw line seemingly at will.

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

Bojan with a season-high 30 points and there's a quarter to go 🎢<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeNote?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeNote</a> <a href="https://t.co/fWQR3cbt85">pic.twitter.com/fWQR3cbt85</a>


Bojan Bogdanovic is up to 32 πŸ”₯<a href="https://twitter.com/utahjazz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@utahjazz</a> 99<a href="https://twitter.com/nuggets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nuggets</a> 93<br><br>7 minutes left on ESPN <a href="https://t.co/kfHWoGZkkb">pic.twitter.com/kfHWoGZkkb</a>

It was Bogdanovic's fourth consecutive game with over 20 points, his longest stretch of the season.

Utah also got strong production from its bench, as Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay combined for 31 points.

As long as the Jazz continue to get contributions from multiple players, Utah will remain among the top contenders in the Western Conference.

Jokic Outstanding Once Again in Defeat

The reigning MVP gave it his all on Wednesday, but it, unfortunately, wasn't enough against a deep Utah team. Despite playing from behind for most of the night, Jokic did his best to carry the Nuggets on both ends of the floor.

Denver Nuggets @nuggets

The Magician always has a trick up his sleeve πŸͺ„ <a href="https://t.co/jGLg9Sv7TU">pic.twitter.com/jGLg9Sv7TU</a>

Denver Nuggets @nuggets

Nikola has entered takeover mode 😀 <a href="https://t.co/LeFNaLSRJQ">pic.twitter.com/LeFNaLSRJQ</a>

Denver also got solid play out of some surprising sources. Will Barton and Monte Morris scored 20 points apiece. Aaron Gordon hit his first seven shots from the field and finished with 17 points.

But the Nuggets couldn't overtake the Jazz down the stretch despite getting the lead down to as few as three points.

It was Jokic's seventh triple-double of the season and second 20-20-10 triple-double of his career. For Denver, it might be discouraging that such a strong performance wasn't enough to get a win. However, the Nuggets remain without its two best players behind Jokic in Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr. (back).

While Denver's roster remains thin, the onus will fall on Jokic every night to carry the team to victory. But as evidenced in Wednesday's game, one player is not enough to take down the elite teams in the Western Conference.

What's Next?

The Jazz will continue their road trip Friday when they take on the Toronto Raptors. The Nuggets will look to end their skid that same day at home against the Sacramento Kings.