Alec Burks knows what it’s like to be at the end of the bench.

He also knows what being a main contributor is about. Differing roles, lingering injury and maturity have made him even-keeled over the years.

That’s why Burks was a bit nonchalant in the moments after he led the Utah Jazz to a 106-96 season-opening win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

In the first regular-season game in the remodeled Vivint Smart Home Arena, Burks came off the bench to score 16 points in 15 minutes before a crowd of 17,588. Many of those points came in a critical fourth-quarter run that gave the Jazz control.

“I was just trying to read the game,” Burks said. “Knowing how long I’ve been out, I was just trying to read the game and react. It was surreal tonight. I’ve been through a lot injury wise. So it’s great to be healthy and on the floor.”

Much was made about Utah’s depth in the days leading to the matchup against the Nuggets. Indeed, had it not been for Burks, Ekpe Udoh and Thabo Sefolosha, the Jazz may well have began the season with a disappointing loss.

Burks shot 7-of-10 from the field, made big jumpers and finished at the rim with regularity. Udoh and Sefolosha were stifling defensively in the paint and on the perimeter, respectively. That trio led the Jazz on a 29-5 run that began at the end of the third quarter and stretched well into the fourth quarter. It allowed the Jazz to turn an 81-71 deficit toward the end of the third into a 16-point advantage down the stretch.

“We wanted to come in and bring that energy off the bench,” Udoh said. “I know myself, defensively, I’m going to be all over the place. We all came in and we were able to get some defensive stops and we were able to run and convert on the other end.”

That the Jazz were able to win so decisively may have been the biggest surprise of the night, because the Nuggets were cruising for three quarters.

Denver made nine of its first 16 3-point shots and seemingly got anything it wanted offensively, and the Jazz looked powerless to stop it.

In the halftime locker room, the Jazz players agreed they needed to get more physical defensively. They weren’t bumping Denver cutters running through the lane in the first half. They weren’t defending handoffs, which led to wide-open shooters. They allowed Will Barton to come off the bench and score 21 points in the first two quarters.

“We weren’t making them feel us,” Sefolosha said. “They got way too comfortable offensively, and we wanted to be more physical. Even if we messed something up schematically, we wanted to be more physical with them.”

The strategy worked.

The open shots the Nuggets enjoyed in the first half suddenly no longer were available. The Jazz did a better job of keeping drivers out of the lane. Most importantly, Utah forced 21 turnovers and dominated offensively with 54 points in the paint.

“I think our bench was terrific,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought we were persistent defensively.”

Six Jazz players scored in double figures, led by Rudy Gobert, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Derrick Favors scored 14 points, Joe Ingles had 11 and rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 10 in his regular-season debut.

Barton finished with a game-high 23 points, but went 1 for 6 from the field in the second half and scored just two points after halftime. Former Jazz star Paul Millsap had 19 points in his Denver debut. Gary Harris scored 14 points, but 11 of those came in the first half.