NBA: Utah Jazz fall to Denver Nuggets 104-84
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.
The Jazz won't want for opportunities to solve the puzzle: Eight of their next 12 games are on the road. Last season, the Jazz were 11-22 away from EnergySolutions Arena.
The Jazz were overmatched early, when Faried, the former first-round pick from Morehead State, established himself on the interior and missed windmill jam aside was the biggest thorn in the Jazz's side. The player whom earlier in the day Jefferson knew only as "the guy with the dreads" scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, despite playing only 27 minutes.
It only added insult to injury Friday that the Jazz were beaten up by, among many, Koufos, the former first-round pick the Jazz traded to Minnesota in 2010 in the deal that netted Jefferson. Koufos scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Jefferson, playing a day after missing practice with a stomach virus, was 1 for 9 and finished with 4 points. He did, however, contribute 11 rebounds.
Mo Williams, the fiery point guard who has been one of the Jazz's best offensive options early in the season, scored two points and did not return to the game after the third quarter due a strained right adductor in his groin.
The Jazz were short on bright spots, but did get another encouraging defensive performance off the bench from Derrick Favors.
The third-year power forward recorded five first-half blocks, and netted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
In a season already pocked with bad road performances, Favors' solid night couldn't save this from being the worst.
"It's almost like we're two different teams," Marvin Williams said, "playing at home as opposed to on the road. We've got to find a way to bottle up whatever we're doing in Salt Lake and definitely pack it in our suitcase with us."
Nuggets 104, Jazz 84
R The Jazz shoot 36.8 percent and make only 4-of-23 3-point attempts in their worst loss of the season.
• Former Jazz center Kosta Koufos scores 15 points and grabs nine rebounds for Denver.
• Point guard Mo Williams leaves the game in third quarter with strained adductor and does not return.
Suns at Jazz
P Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • ROOT
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