Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets Pick & Prediction JANUARY 10th 2024

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The Utah Jazz have won eight of their past 10 games and are suddenly ferocious against top-flight competition.

The Jazz look to make it three consecutive victories against elite teams when they face the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.

Utah is fresh off road wins over two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 120-109 on Saturday and the Milwaukee Bucks 132-116 on Monday.

The Jazz led the Bucks by as many as 33 in the easy victory.

“That’s a good win,” Utah standout forward Lauri Markkanen said afterward. “It’s not easy to lead by 30. It’s hard to keep that up. We knew that they were going to make a run at some point, and really still stay poised and really grind it out. It was a good win.”

Markkanen recorded 21 points and 14 rebounds and Jordan Clarkson also scored 21 points for the Jazz. Collin Sexton, John Collins and Keyonte George all added 19 points apiece, and Kris Dunn matched his season best of 13 assists.

Utah had 33 assists on 47 made baskets and was 20 of 44 from 3-point range.

“When you make a couple shots, it obviously feeds the confidence of everybody,” Markkanen said.

The Jazz will attempt to have another strong offensive performance when they face a Denver squad that has won 12 of its past 15 games.

The contest in Salt Lake City is the first of a stretch in which the Nuggets play six of eight games on the road.

Denver is coming off a 131-114 home victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Jamal Murray led the way with a season-high 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting.

“His energy and his will to win really is infectious,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of Murray. “When he sees that ball go in, he’s really unguardable.”

Murray has scored 20 or more points in four straight games and in 10 of his past 11. He is averaging 23.7 points during the stretch.

Fellow Denver star Nikola Jokic had just four points on 2-of-3 shooting and seven rebounds against Detroit but also produced 16 assists and matched his career best of five blocked shots.

“Unusual stat line,” Murray said of the two-time MVP, who averaged 31.5 points over the Nuggets’ previous two games.

Murray wasn’t happy that Denver led the hapless Pistons by just eight points at halftime, so he took his teammates to task and insisted on a better defensive effort in the second half.

The Nuggets outscored Detroit by 15 points in the third quarter en route to landing the victory.

“We just wanted to hold ourselves accountable,” Murray said. “I thought we did a good job coming ready to play knowing this team, they’re trying to win.”

Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each added 18 points for Denver.

Denver posted a 110-102 home win over the Jazz on Oct. 30 for its third triumph in the past four meetings between the teams. Jokic had 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, while Markkanen had 27 points and 14 rebounds for Utah.

–Field Level Media

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