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SALT LAKE CITY — A historic first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets ended as players and viewers alike held their breath as Mike Conley's Hail Mary 3-point shot moved through the air for what felt like an eternity. The ball hits the rim and rolls out. Donovan Mitchell hits the floor.
And just like that a Game 7 where Donovan Mitchell led a rally from a 19-point deficit to a retake the lead for a time was over, with Utah falling to Denver 80-78. The season everyone thought had ended when the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder were sent back to the locker rooms back in March due to Rudy Gobert's COVID-19 diagnosis, is over for Utah for good.
Many have summarized the series as a clash between Mitchell and Jamal Murray, who both posted two 50-point games. But it was Nikola Jokic who hammered the final nail in the Game 7 series finale at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The first-round series started Aug. 17; here's a review of what happened, with statistics, recaps and analysis by KSL.com Utah Jazz beat writer Ryan Miller (@millerjryan on Twitter).
Game 1: Denver Nuggets 135, Utah Jazz 125 (OT)
- Aug. 17 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Nuggets lead series 1-0)
- Bombs away: How the Jazz reshaped their identity — and why it might lead to playoff success
- Donovan Mitchell's 57-point game wasted as Jazz drop Game 1 to Nuggets in OT
- Jazz forward Juwan Morgan proves he belongs in first playoff start
- Highly regarded Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant reportedly joining Knicks
- Jazz and Nuggets asking same question heading to Game 2: How can they slow down the stars?
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 57 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists; Tony Bradley 9 rebounds); Nuggets (Jamal Murray, 36 points, 9 rebounds; Nikola Jokic, 10 rebounds).
Game 2: Utah Jazz 124, Denver Nuggets 105
- Aug. 19 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Series tied 1-1)
- A 'much better job' on Donovan Mitchell? Denver struggling to find an answer for Jazz star
- 'Nothing personal': Jazz blast Nuggets in Game 2 to tie series
- Jazz guard Mike Conley returns to NBA campus and could play in Game 3
- Utah's next move in the first-round series? Getting Mike Conley back
- 'I don't think all of them are legal': Denver hasn't been able to get around Rudy Gobert's screens
- Patrick Kinahan: Mitchell's magnificent run worth watching
- Box Score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 30 points; Royce O'Neale, Rudy Gobert and Tony Bradley, 7 rebounds; Donovan Mitchell and Royce O'Neale, 8 assists); Nuggets (Nikola Jokic, 28 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists; Michael Porter Jr., 28 points)
Game 3: Utah Jazz 124, Denver Nuggets 87
- Friday, Aug. 21 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Utah lead series 2-1)
- Another rout: Jazz fry Nuggets to take 2-1 lead in series
- After welcoming third child, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley shows he's Denver's latest problem
- Box Score | Leaders: Jazz (Mike Conley, 27 points; Rudy Gobert, 14 rebounds; Joe Ingles, 8 assists); Nuggets (Nikola Jokic, 15 points; Mason Plumlee and PJ Dozier, 6 rebounds; Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, 6 assists)
Game 4: Utah Jazz 129, Denver Nuggets 127
- Sunday, Aug. 23 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Utah lead series 3-1)
- Donovan Mitchell goes over 50 again as Jazz push Nuggets to the brink
- Donovan Mitchell's historic run is no fluke
- Really awkward and weird': Jazz, Nuggets have shared same hotel while playing in 1st round
- 'I don’t want to get fined': Nuggets frustrated with free throw disparity following Game 4 loss
- Utah Jazz saddened and angered by the news of yet another police shooting
- Box Score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 51 points, 7 assists; Rudy Gobert, 11 rebounds); Nuggets (Jamal Murray 50 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists)
Game 5: Denver Nuggets 117, Utah Jazz 107
- Tuesday, Aug. 25 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Utah leads series 3-2)
- Murray outduels Mitchell this time as Nuggets extend series with Game 5 win
- The yips? 'Distracted' Jazz let the Nuggets back into game — and back into series
- NBA to restart playoffs Saturday along with new initiatives; Jazz play Sunday
- 'A hard thing to do': Jazz, Nuggets both feeling weight of protests as series restarts
- Box Score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 30 points; Rudy Gobert, 12 rebounds; Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, 5 assists); Nuggets (Jamal Murray, 42 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists)
Game 6: Denver Nuggets 119, Utah Jazz 107
- Sunday, Aug. 30 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Series tied 3-3)
- Angry Donovan Mitchell after Game 6 loss: Now it's Jazz's turn to 'play like we don't want to go home'
- Jamal Murray drops 50 again and sends Jazz-Nuggets to a Game 7
- Mitchell-Murray historic duel comes down to Game 7
- Box Score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 44 points; Rudy Gobert, 11 rebounds; Mike Conley, 6 assists); Nuggets (Jamal Murray, 50 points; Michael Porter Jr., 12 rebounds; Nikola Jokic, 9 assists)
Game 7: Denver Nuggets 80, Utah Jazz 78
- Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Nuggets win series 4-3)
- Golden Nuggets: Utah Jazz’s 3-1 series lead in 1st round tarnished by less-than-sterling Game 7 loss
- Box Score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 22 points; Rudy Gobert, 18 rebounds; Mike Conley, 7 assists); Nuggets (Nikola Jokic, 30 points, 14 rebounds; Monte Morris, 5 assists)
NBA playoffs: Jazz vs. Nuggets, 1st round
Nuggets win series 4-3
- Game 1: Nuggets 135, Jazz 125 OT
- Game 2: Jazz 124, Nuggets 105
- Game 3: Jazz 124, Nuggets 87
- Game 4: Jazz 129, Nuggets 127
- Game 5: Nuggets 117, Jazz 107
- Game 6: Nuggets 119, Jazz 107
- Game 7: Nuggets 80, Jazz 78
All games will be played in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
All games will be played in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
In the bubble
Aug. 13: Jazz 118, Spurs 112 (end of regular season)
- Jazz top Spurs, turn their attention to Nuggets and playoffs
- The matchup is set: The Utah Jazz will play the Denver Nuggets in 1st round of NBA playoffs
- Tanking hasn't stopped Joe Ingles' ironman streak, but how will it affect the Jazz?
- Record: 44-28 (Bubble: 3-5) | Streak: W1
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Rayjon Tucker, 18 points; Tony Bradley, 10 rebounds; Jarrell Brantley, 6 assists); Spurs (Keldon Johnson, 24 points; Dejounte Murray, 14 rebounds, 7 assists)
- Notes: The Jazz finish the highly irregular 2019-2020 regular season with a record of 44-28. They earned the sixth seed in the Western Conference. For the first time in two years, they will not be playing the Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Aug. 10: Mavericks 122, Jazz 114
- A tank job? The Jazz give up 22-point lead against Dallas
- Record: 43-28 (Bubble: 2-6) | Streak: L3
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Jordan Clarkson, 18 points; Rudy Gobert and Tony Bradley, 5 rebounds; Joe Ingles, 7 assists); Mavericks (Tim Hardaway Jr., 27 points; Boban Marjonovic, 9 rebounds; J.J. Barea, 8 assists)
- Notes: Jordan Clarkson filled in the starting position for Donovan Mitchell, out with a left lower leg peroneal strain, and led the team with 18 points only playing the first half. No starters played in the second half of the game as it became apparent the Oklahoma City Thunder were going to lose to the Phoenix Suns, dropping the Thunder into a tie for fifth with the Jazz.
Aug. 8: Nuggets 134, Jazz 132 (2OT)
- Donovan Mitchell's late-game heroics come up just short in Jazz's 2OT loss to Nuggets
- 'I’m glad we learned it now': Utah Jazz get some playoff prep in loss to Denver
- Record: 43-27 (Bubble: 2-4) | Streak: L2
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 35 points, Rudy Gobert, 13 rebounds; Joe Ingles, 13 assists); Denver (Nikola Jokic, 30 points; Jamal Murray, 12 rebounds, 8 assists)
- Notes: The now first-round playoff preview ended in a thrilling double-overtime 2-point loss for the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell scored 7 straight points in the final 10.8 seconds of the fourth quarter, he also scored 24 or his 35 points during the fourth quarter and both overtimes. Rudy Gobert had 14 of his 22 points in the first half and the Jazz shot 12 of 21 from 3-point range.
Aug. 7: Spurs 119, Jazz 111
- Rest day: Jazz fall to Spurs as Utah's starters get some rest
- After a month in Orlando, Jazz and the NBA have discovered bubble life isn't all that bad
- Record: 43-26 (Bubble: 2-3) | Streak: L1
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Jordan Clarkson, 24 points, Tony Bradley, 11 rebounds; Emmanuel Mudiay, 5 assists); Spurs (Derrick White, 24 points, Jakob Poeltl, 10 rebounds; Dejounte Murray, 6 assists)
- Notes: Several Jazz starters sat out this matchup against the spurs to rest for the final stretch before playoffs. Mike Conley was out with right knee soreness, Donovan Mitchell out with a left peroneal strain, Royce O’Neale came down with some right calf soreness and would suit up and Rudy Gobert needed some rest. Joe Ingles only played in the first half due to right foot soreness.
Aug. 5: Jazz 124, Grizzlies 115
- 'Donovan picked a better ball': Ingles', Utah's shooting touch returns as Jazz beat Grizzlies
- 'Starting to really have fun': Jazz saw Mike Conley's excellent bubble play coming
- Record: 43-25 (Bubble: 2-2) | Streak: W1
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Joe Ingles, 25 points; Rudy Gobert, 16 rebounds; Mike Conley, 7 assists); Grizzlies (Dillon Brooks, 23 points; Jonas Valanciunas, 14 rebounds; Ja Morant, 9 assists)
- Notes: Utah started to show it hadn't forgotten that before the pandemic, it was the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league. The Jazz went 18 of 45 from 3-point range, matching their season-high. Joe Ingles led the team making 6 of 11 of his 3-point shots, followed by Mike Conley with 4 of 9.
Aug. 3: Lakers 116, Jazz 108
- Donovan Mitchell's stellar night not enough for Utah Jazz in loss to Lakers
- A look at the positives for the Jazz after 3 games in the bubble
- Record: 42-25 (Bubble: 1-2) | Streak: L2
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Donovan Mitchell, 33 points, Royce O'Neale and Rudy Gobert, 13 rebounds; Mike Conley, 8 assists); Lakers (Anthony Davis, 42 points, 12 rebounds; LeBron James, 9 assists)
- Notes: Donovan Mitchell tried to claw his way to top the best in the West, but some easy turnovers played right to the Laker's strengths. Mitchell scored 21 of 33 points in the first half. He also added five rebounds and four assists in his best performance of the restart.
Aug. 1: Thunder 110, Jazz 94
- A bubble embarrassment: Jazz routed by Thunder in 2nd game of NBA restart
- 'It was kind of refreshing': At long last, the game that began the shutdown tips off
- Record: 42-24 (Bubble: 1-1) | Streak: L1
- Box score | Leaders: Utah (Donovan Mitchell, 13 points, Rudy Gobert, 7 rebounds; Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Mike Conley, 4 assists); Thunder (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 19 points; Steven Adams, 11 rebounds; Chris Paul, 7 assists)
- Notes: The Jazz were held to 39.1% shooting and were just 8 of 31 from 3-point range.
July 30: Jazz 106, Pelicans 104
- 'It's so important for us to be unified': Utah Jazz, Pelicans kneel during national anthem before NBA restart
- 'Life works in mysterious ways': In 1st game of NBA restart, Utah Jazz beat Pelicans on late free throws by Rudy Gobert
- Record: 43-23 (Bubble: 1-0) | Streak: W1
- Box score | Leaders: Jazz (Jordan Clarkson, 23 points; Rudy Gobert, 12 rebounds; Donovan Mitchell, 5 assists); Pelicans (Brandon Ingram, 23 points, 8 rebounds; Lonzo Ball, 7 assists)
- Notes: In the first game of the NBA restart, the player who first tested positive for coronavirus scored the first points and the final game-winning points. Rudy Gobert scored 14 points, including the game's final two to secure the win over the Pelicans.
Points per game
- Donovan Mitchell 38.7
- Mike Conley 22.8
- Jordan Clarkson 17.8
- Rudy Gobert 16.5
- Joe Ingles 9.5
Rebounds per game
- Rudy Gobert 10.3
- Royce O'Neale 5.7
- Donovan Mitchell 4.3
- Tony Bradley 3.8
- Jordan Clarkson 3.5
Assists per game
- Donovan Mitchell 5.5
- Mike Conley 4.8
- Joe Ingles 4.7
- Royce O'Neale 3
- Jordan Clarkson 2.3