NBA regular season

Bojan Bogdanovic’s career-high 48 points carries Jazz past Nuggets

Bojan Bogdanovic’s career-high 48 points carries Jazz past Nuggets

TIGHT DUEL. Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson tries to slip past Nuggets counterpart Facundo Campazzo.

Photo by Rob Gray/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Led by Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson, the Jazz dispatch the Nuggets for a firmer hold of the No. 1 spot

Bojan Bogdanovic erupted for a career-high 48 points, Jordan Clarkson had 21 points and 8 assists, and the host Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets, 127-120, in Salt Lake City on Friday night, May 7 (Saturday, May 8, Manila time).

Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 9rebounds, Georges Niang had 13 points and Joe Ingles had 10 points and 9 assists for Utah (49-18).

Michael Porter Jr scored 31 points, while Nikola Jokic finished with 24 points, 13 assists, and 9 rebounds for the Nuggets (44-23).

Paul Millsap also scored 19, Austin Rivers added 18, and Aaron Gordon 10 for Denver.

The Jazz came out strong to start the fourth quarter. Niang made an 8-footer and a triple to go in front, and after two free throws by Porter, Bogdanovic made two more from deep to give Utah a 109-103 lead.

Rivers’ three-pointer cut the deficit to three, but a dunk by Gobert and Bogdanovic’s eighth three-pointer increased the lead to 114-106 with 4:39 remaining.

Denver scored the next five points out of a timeout to get within three. Clarkson hit a three-pointer and Gobert a layup to make it 119-112.

The Nuggets got within three with a minute left but Clarkson’s sixth three-pointer ended the comeback attempt.

Both teams cooled off after a scorching first half, and things stayed close throughout the third quarter. 

Utah took a 78-77 lead on two free throws from Bogdanovic but Millsap made two foul shots and Porter hit a 25-footer to give the Nuggets a four-point lead.

The Jazz again went ahead by one but Rivers hit two three-pointers to put Denver back up by five. After Utah retook the lead, Jokic made two free throws with 1.5 seconds left in the third to give the Nuggets a 99-98 lead heading into the fourth.

Denver shot 60% from the field and 50% from behind the arc in the first half and the Jazz shot 56.5 and 47.8%, respectively, during an offensive 24 minutes.

The Nuggets led by as many as 11 in the first half and took a 73-69 advantage into halftime. –