SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It’s safe to say Bojan Bogdanovic is playing with confidence.
The Jazz forward has completely overcome an earlier season slump, setting a new career-high with 48 points as he led the Jazz to a 127-120 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
The 48 points is the most points scored by a Jazz player in a regular season game since Karl Malone scored 56 back in 1998.
There was a playoff like atmosphere at Vivint Arena as the Jazz and Nuggets fought each other all night. Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson hit huge shots down the stretch for Utah as the Jazz won their fourth straight game.
“Unbelievable, my career moment, thank you for making this night special for me and this team,” said Bogdanovic. “The most important thing is this win and that we remain where we belong and that is at the top of the list right now.”
Bogdanovic continually kept Utah in the game, shooting an efficient 16 of 23 from the field, making a career-high eight 3-pointers, which ties a Jazz franchise record.
“What didn’t we see from him tonight?” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He was making great reads. He really scored every way possible.”
When Bogdanovic scored his final points on a pair of free throws with 12.3 seconds to go, with Jazz fans chanting “Bogey! Bogey!”, he felt like he had taken a huge step forward on the path back from a wrist injury that kept ended his season early last year.
“I’m playing better. I’m shooting the ball better,” Bogdanovic said. “So I’m getting in the right shape in the right moment right before the playoffs.”
Clarkson added 21 points off the bench, Rudy Gobert finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in the Jazz victory.
Utah stays one game up on Phoenix for the top seed in the Western Conference with five games to go.
Michael Porter, Jr. scored 31 points for Denver, with MVP candidate Nikola Jokic adding 24 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds.
Utah did not trail over the final 11:22 of the fourth quarter after Georges Niang hit back-to-back shots to give the Jazz a 103-99 lead. Denver scored just one basket over a six-minute stretch and couldn’t quite claw their way back on top.
“We raised our intensity,” Gobert said. “Communication got better. I think we wore them down over the final stretch.”
Utah next hosts the Houston Rockets at Vivint Arena Saturday at 8:00 p.m.