The Denver Nuggets (46-27) and Utah Jazz (44-28) will battle in Game 3 of the Western Conference playoff series on Friday. The seven-game series is all square, 1-1, entering the first weekend of the NBA playoffs.
Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. EST at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. Coverage of the game can be seen on TNT. Denver is a slight -1.5 point favorite over Utah, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Denver Nuggets
Denver will look to bounce back after suffering a 19-point loss, 124-105, loss to the Jazz on Wednesday. It took overtime in Game 1 for the Nuggets to claim victory over Utah. For the entirety of the league restart, the Nuggets have been playing without starters, Will Barton and Gary Harris.
In Game 2, Nikola Jokic (10-for-21 shooting) and Michael Porter Jr. (10-for-17) each scored a team-high 28 points pace the Nuggets. Jokic also collected 11 rebounds for the double-double. Jamal Murray (6-for-13) added 14 points as well.
Denver shot 45.7% from the floor (35-for-81) and 48.1% from the 3-point line (13-for-27). In the two playoff games, the Nuggets have averaged 120 points per game, which is almost nine points above their season average of 111.3. The Nuggets are allowing 124.5 points over the same span.
Denver won four of five games against the Jazz this season. The Nuggets capped off the final eight games of the regular season with a 3-5 record inside the bubble.
What to Know – Utah Jazz
After a tight Game 1 that ended in a loss, the Jazz performed exceptionally well en route to a 19-point victory in Game 2. In the second and third quarter, Utah outscored Denver 77-52. Utah is also expecting to get their starting point guard Michael Conley Jr. back in some capacity. Conley Jr. missed the first two games of the playoffs after leaving the bubble to see the birth of his son.
Donovan Mitchell backed up his 57 point outburst on Monday with another team-high 30 points behind 10-for-14 shooting from the field. Mitchell added an even more impressive 6-for-7 mark from the 3-point line. Jordan Clarkson (9-for-18) chipped in 26 points off the bench for the Jazz.
Utah shot a blistering 51.7% from the field (45-for-87) and 45.5% (20-for-44) from beyond the arc. The Jazz has averaged 124.5 points offensively while surrendering 120.0 defensively.
In Orlando, the Jazz wrapped up the final games of the regular season with a 3-5 mark.
The Pick is In
Utah has been playing slightly better basketball than the Nuggets recently. Although Denver has had Utah’s number this season, the Nuggets have not been able to contain Mitchell’s scoring so far. The anticipated addition of Conley to the lineup should give the Jazz an added boost. This game is essentially a toss-up, and with that, we like the Utah Jazz +1.5 here.