Denver • As it turned out, the Jazz’s ailments weren’t confined to Al Jefferson’s midsection.
With their most consistent player battling residuals of a stomach virus, the Jazz played their worst quarter of the season, and as a result suffered their most lopsided defeat, falling 104-84 to the Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
They led 27-26 at the end of the first quarter, but did not score a field goal in the final 8:25 of the second quarter, allowing the Nuggets to go on a 21-4 run and take a 53-38 lead into halftime.
“We’ve got to keep our composure a little bit more,” guard Gordon Hayward said. “Slow it down a little bit, make sure we get a good shot. We were turning the ball over too much, that’s what propelled them.”
Turnovers fed Nugget baskets, which were greeted on the other end by Jazz jump shots, and the second quarter became a self-fulfilling prophecy for the listless Jazz.
“Usually we try and go inside to try and get something close to the basket,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “But for whatever reason tonight we kept shooting jump shots; we didn’t get anything attacking the baskets.”
Playing on the front end of a back-to-back series before Saturday’s game against Phoenix, the Jazz were just 4 of 23 on 3-pointers, and did not make one until Hayward connected midway through the third quarter.
“A lot of us struggled to shoot it tonight, man,” Marvin Williams said. “Guys that normally make shots, including myself, not making shots that we normally make.”
Williams was 2 of 7 from the floor, and was held to five points.
Five players did reach double digits for the Jazz, led by 15 points from Hayward, but on the whole they could not match the intensity of Denver’s Kenneth Faried, the hot shooting of Corey Brewer or — get this — the interior presence of former Jazz center Kosta Koufos.
The loss dropped the Jazz (2-4) to 0-4 on the road, with only Saturday’s home game against Phoenix before a mammoth four-game East Coast road trip next week.
“We’ve got to figure out this road thing,” Hayward said.Next Page »