Despite players missing from both teams lineups, the Nuggets and Jazz have had quite the first round series so far. Highlighted by big comebacks, late game heroics and individual genius from a certain few players. Going into game 6, this series has become a complete toss up, with both teams showing the ability to go on huge runs to shift momentum.
The stars of this series have been Murray and Mitchell. They have each had signature moments, and have carried their teams with massive scoring efforts. The 50 point games have grabbed the spotlight, as they have been willing their teams through offensive struggles and injuries.
As mentioned, both teams are missing key contributors. Harris and Barton, two of Denver’s best defenders and shooters have been out, with Harris potentially returning for game 6. Bogdanovic is still out for Utah, and he was one of their very best scorers throughout this past season. This has made it even more difficult on each teams’ stars, who have stepped up.
Utah’s offense has been a spectacle through 5 games. The shooting and efficiency, from specifically Mitchell, Conley and Clarkson has been remarkable. Gobert has had a few big scoring games as well, to go along with his usual stellar defense.
Murray and Jokic have been forced to carry a huge load offensively. Porter Jr, has been a disappointment through this series, and the lack of depth has hurt Denver. However, some individual moments from both Jokic and Murray have been enough to keep them in the series long enough to get healthy.
The key to who wins this series will continue to be Denver’s defense. They were not able to guard the pick and roll at all in games 2-4, and got torched. Game 5 swung when they began to rush Jokic at the ball handler and force other players to make plays. If they can continue to get timely stops, it will give them a solid chance of taking this series in 7 games.