Nuggets rout Jazz as Utah loses for first time in six games
Nuggets 113, Jazz 96 • Riding a 5-game win streak, Utah fizzles against surging Denver.
Published: April 4, 2013 06:43PM
Updated: July 7, 2013 11:31PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Denver Nuggets small forward Corey Brewer (13) shoots over Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) in NBA action at the EnergySolutions Arena, Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

The boos started Wednesday midway through the fourth quarter, when a beaten-down Jazz team missed yet another jump shot and Danilo Gallinari followed with a 3 to give the Nuggets an 18-point lead, then their largest of the night.

The hisses continued through the final 6 minutes, heightening with each turnover and missed shot, every Nuggets basket that looked uncontested. Finally, from the 19,654 packed into EnergySolutions Arena, those boos grew into one collective moan as the final seconds dripped away from a 113-96 loss that moved the Jazz back outside the playoff picture.

“That’s whatever it is,” coach Tyrone Corbin said of the fan reaction to the Jazz’s first loss in six games. “If you play this game long enough, that stuff will never surprise you.”

But long careers do not cast low expectations. His team’s performance, Corbin acknowledged, was disappointing. It was, in fact, a surprise. The Utah Jazz (39-37) entered Wednesday’s game winners of their last five, looking to continue the streak against a team that, yes, had beaten the Jazz three times previous, but was without starting point guard Ty Lawson.

The Jazz were outperformed in nearly every facet, succumbing to Denver’s trapping defense, failing to get back in transition. The Nuggets (51-24) shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, while the Jazz settled for long jump shots.

“They just made shots and attacked,” Al Jefferson said. “I think we settled for too many jumpers and we got caught up in their game and they made us pay for it.”

Randy Foye was equally frustrated.

“When you watch film on them it seems like they’re not playing defense or they’re just letting guys run through and switching everything,” he said. “They do a good job of mucking everything up.”

Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 18 points, while Jefferson and Paul Millsap added 16 apiece. Marvin Williams scored 10 points off the bench, but was responsible for at least one killer turnover, when he bobbled a pass that likely would have led to a basket and cut Denver’s lead to 8. Instead, the Nuggets took advantage of the bonus possession when Corey Brewer sunk a 3 to increase Denver’s lead to 79-66.

Where Mo Williams and Foye had been electric from behind the arc in the team’s last two wins, over Portland and Brooklyn, the starting backcourt finished just 4 of 21 from the field and 2 of 11 from 3.

Foye had made 11 of his last 15 3-point attempts over two games.

“They did a good job of packing the paint in,” Foye said. “Big Al [Jefferson] kicked the ball out and shots that we usually make for the last eight, nine games now, tonight we just didn’t knock them down.”

The Jazz shot 46.4 percent from the field, but couldn’t keep up with a Denver team that finished the game shooting at a 56.2 percent clip.

Despite the absence of Lawson, the Nuggets moved the ball quicker than the Jazz were able to go. With former University of Utah point guard Andre Miller guiding the offense, Denver outscored the Jazz 58-40 in the paint, and only 4 of those were scored by Denver’s centers.

“They run on everything,” Corbin said. “Not just turnovers. They run on makes, misses, everything. Anytime they can get their hands on the ball, they want to go at pace.”

Miller finished with 13 points and six assists while former Jazz center Kosta Koufos led both teams with 13 rebounds.

“We didn’t want to lose that way,” Foye said. “We didn’t want to lose at all. They’re a good team, the No. 3 team in the West. They played really well.”

The loss dropped the Jazz to half a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth in the Western Conference chase after the Lakers earned a 20-point victory over Dallas on Tuesday.

This position is similar to the one the Jazz faced in 2012, when they needed to win their final five games to sneak into the playoffs. Last spring, Jefferson said the Jazz couldn’t ride the wave of emotion that comes with each win or loss.

He stuck by that Wednesday.

“Worked for us last year,” he said. “Don’t see why it wouldn’t be the same this year.”

Highlights

O The Jazz are outscored 57-45 in the second half and have a five-game winning streak snapped.

• The Jazz fall half a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth place in the Western Conference.

• Former Jazz center Kosta Koufos finishes with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Nuggets 113, Jazz 96

FG FT Reb

Denver Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Gallinari 32:41 6-10 7-8 2-4 3 1 21

Faried 25:41 8-10 3-5 3-8 0 2 19

Koufos 23:37 1-2 0-0 2-13 0 2 2

AMiller 26:32 6-12 0-0 0-2 6 2 13

Iguodala 31:32 4-10 1-4 0-0 6 2 10

Brewer 27:33 4-7 5-6 0-3 2 2 14

McGee 18:29 1-3 0-0 1-3 0 1 2

Chandler 25:27 4-10 1-2 0-4 3 3 10

Fournier 21:28 7-9 3-3 0-2 2 3 18

Randolph 2:44 0-0 4-4 0-1 0 0 4

Mozgov 2:14 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 1 0

QMiller 1:01 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Hamilton 1:01 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 240:00 41-73 24-32 8-42 22 19 113

Percentages: FG .562, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 7-18, .389 (Gallinari 2-4, A.Miller 1-1, Fournier 1-2, Brewer 1-3, Chandler 1-4, Iguodala 1-4). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 14 (19 PTS). Blocked Shots: 8 (Chandler 2, Faried 2, McGee 2, Iguodala, Koufos). Turnovers: 14 (Gallinari 3, Iguodala 3, Faried 2, McGee 2, Brewer, Fournier, Q.Miller, Randolph). Steals: 7 (Fournier 3, Iguodala 2, Brewer, A.Miller). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hayward 30:33 7-13 1-2 0-1 2 3 18

Millsap 31:02 6-12 4-4 1-3 2 0 16

Jefferson 36:12 7-11 2-4 1-9 3 3 16

M Wilms 32:21 2-12 0-0 2-5 7 1 4

Foye 26:51 2-9 1-2 0-2 1 3 7

Favors 28:05 3-8 2-2 1-6 1 3 8

MaWilms 22:13 5-7 0-0 2-2 3 3 10

Burks 18:19 3-6 2-4 0-2 2 2 8

Tinsley 5:09 2-3 0-0 0-1 1 0 5

Watson 3:05 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

Carroll 3:05 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 1 2

Evans 3:05 1-1 0-0 1-1 1 2 2

Totals 240:00 39-84 12-18 8-33 25 21 96

Percentages: FG .464, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 6-20, .300 (Hayward 3-6, Foye 2-8, Tinsley 1-2, Ma.Williams 0-1, M. Williams 0-3). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 10 (21 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Burks, Favors, Jefferson, Ma.Williams). Turnovers: 9 (Tinsley 2, Ma.Williams 2, Favors, Foye, Jefferson, Millsap, M. Williams). Steals: 7 (Burks 2, Evans, Foye, Hayward, Jefferson, M. Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

Denver 28 28 25 32 — 113

Utah 23 28 17 28 — 96

Attendance • 19,654

Time • 2:06.

Officials • Bill Spooner, Gary Zielinski, Tre Maddox.