THE LEAD: In a game that was close until the fourth quarter, the Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz 100-81 Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena. The loss was the eighth consecutive to open the year for the Jazz, while the Nuggets improved to 2-4.
The win came on a balanced team effort for the Nuggets, as 10 players scored at least five points, with Ty Lawson leading the way with 17 to go along with 10 assists. Kenneth Faried finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Andre Miller added 15 points off the bench for Denver.
Utah jumped out to an early 26-16 lead behind Gordon Hayward, who had 18 points in the first half but finished the game with only 22. He also committed seven turnovers.
QUOTABLE: “That was a needed game for both teams, and I think our sense of urgency was a little bit better than theirs down the stretch. It could have [gone] either way, but we found a way to pul it out.”
— Andre Miller
THE STAT: Denver had a huge advantage on the boards, outrebounding the Jazz 52-35. More importantly, the Nuggets cleaned up on the offensive glass, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds and turning those into 18 second-chance points. Faried finished with four offensive rebounds while J.J. Hickson had three.
TURNING POINT: The Jazz held a 73-72 lead with 10:18 to go in the fourth quarter, but then the entire team went cold. Denver went on a 27-8 run to finish the game, during which the Jazz made only three field goals (two of those being dunks by Derrick Favors).
HOT: Denver’s bench changed the game, outscoring their Utah counterparts 42-16. Besides Miller, Timofey Mozgov had 10 points and five rebounds, while Evan Fournier, Darrell Arthur and Anthony Randolphcombined for another 17 points.
NOT: Utah’s Richard Jefferson made his first two shots of the night … and then he started missing. A lot. The veteran had a chance to get the Jazz off to a good start in the third quarter, but he bricked a wide-open look from the corner then missed a runner in the lane on the next possession. Denver scored five points off those misses to keep the momentum. For the game, Jefferson was just 2-for-10 from the field and 2-for-4 from the free-throw line.
QUOTABLE II: “Too many turnovers. Too many offensive rebounds for them. Wide open layups. A lot went wrong.”
— Hayward on how the Jazz lost control of the game in the fourth quarter
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: While Denver won with a balanced attack, it was Favors who stuffed the individual stat sheet, scoring a season-high 21 points to go along with 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.
NOTABLE: Utah’s point guards — John Lucas III and Jamaal Tinsley — combined for only four points, five assists and zero steals. … Denver committed five fouls in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter but didn’t pick up another one until 4:46, and the Jazz shot only four free throws in the final 10 minutes of play. … Faried took an unintentional shot to the throat from Utah’s Rudy Gobert with 5:43 left in the fourth quarter and didn’t return to the game, even though he was cleared after being checked out in the locker room. …Randy Foye scored seven points and made one 3-pointer in his return to Utah after playing for the Jazz last season.
UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Wednesday vs. L.A. Lakers, Friday vs. Minnesota, Saturday @ Houston. For the Jazz, Wednesday vs. New Orleans, Friday vs. San Antonio, Saturday @ Golden State.