Nuggets set new franchise record in big win over the Jazz

Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

The Denver Nuggets defeated the Utah Jazz 142-121 on Saturday night in Ball Arena. There was plenty to be impressed with, but the most impressive stat of the night was the score at halftime, as the team managed to make a bit of history.

After two-quarters of play, the Nuggets led the Jazz by a score of 78-44. The 34-point lead was the largest halftime lead in Nuggets franchise history. That’s a pretty remarkable feat for a team that was founded in 1967 and has been around for more than 50 years playing professional basketball.

And yet, in all that time, they’ve never had a larger lead at the half than they did on Saturday night against the Jazz. Just about everything was working for Denver on both ends, they hit 14/20 three-point attempts and had a 162.5 offensive rating.

Jamal Murray put up 24 points on 8/12 in the first half, Nikola Jokic added 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on 7/9 shooting, and Michael Porter Jr. tallied 13 points on 5/8 from the floor. The offense was firing on all cylinders - even for the Nuggets’ lofty standards - and the defense was there to match. 

The Jazz weren’t exactly playing great basketball, but they were overmatched from the start, had several players dealing with injuries, and ran into an absolute buzzsaw of a team, performing at the peak of their powers.

The Jazz did come out and play inspired ball in the third quarter, while the Nuggets let their play slip a bit. Utah won the quarter 44-24 and at one point had the lead all the way down to 13. But the Nuggets were able to right the ship with a 40-point fourth quarter to put the game out of reach and secure the victory.

The win improves the Nuggets to 44-20 on the season, tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for second place in the Western Conference, and just a half-game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the one seed. Denver is now 8-1 since the All-Star break and is playing as well as any team in the NBA. They appear to be primed for another title run.