Forward Richard Jefferson told his young teammates that they were
still going to win despite trailing early in the fourth quarter.
"I remember Rich kind of bringing everyone together and saying,
'They're a good team, they made their run, now it's our turn to make
a run,'" guard Gordon Hayward said. "We slowed down and kind of made
one of our own."
And they made Jefferson prophetic.
Hayward scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed a career-high 13
rebounds, center Derrick Favors had 19 points and the Jazz recovered
to beat the Denver Nuggets 103-93 on Friday night.
Jefferson scored 14 points for the Jazz, who were predictably upbeat
after stealing a road win.
"You got that right," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They're hard
Forwards Wilson Chandler and Jordan Hamilton had 17 points apiece
for the Nuggets, who had their six-game home winning streak snapped.
It was also Denver's third loss at Pepsi Center this year, matching
its total from all of last season.
The loss might have bigger repercussions for Denver, which has
started slow a few times lately. Coach Brian Shaw wasn't happy with
Utah's 33-point first quarter, which came a week after Boston
dropped 39 on his team to start a game.
"I don't know if I have to shake it up or what I have to do with
that starting lineup. The chemistry for whatever reason is not
there," Shaw said. "It's putting too much pressure on our bench
night after night. Our starters were out there allowing them to be
comfortable and swing the ball around."
The starters — and the rest of the team — let Hayward go off. They
chased him off the perimeter only to see him drive to the basket for
layups and draw contact.
"I finally knocked down some shots and finished around the rim,"
Hayward said. "It was a good feeling. Just taking what the defense
was giving me."
Despite his success, the Nuggets appeared to take control when they
went on a 26-8 run to end the third quarter and wipe out a
double-digit Utah lead.
Denver tried to pull away after taking a four-point lead early in
the fourth quarter, but Utah responded. Hayward and Jefferson had
three-point plays, and Favors' putback gave the Jazz a 94-89 lead.
Two free throws by guard Andre Miller cut it to 96-93, but Favors'
three-point play made it a six-point game and the Jazz closed it
"We had a little lapse there with the end of the third quarter. We
have to get that straightened out a little," Corbin said. "But I
thought the group came in at the end and really fought and executed
and communicated well on the defensive end and we were able to get
some timely baskets and some timely stops."
[to top of second column]
The biggest defensive victory was holding Denver's starting
backcourt scoreless. Nuggets guard Ty Lawson came into the game
leading the team in scoring at 19.3 points per game, but he
missed six shots from the field while former Jazz guard Randy
Foye was 0-for-3 from the floor.
"We did a good job of not letting (Lawson) get all the way to
the rim," Utah guard Trey Burke said. "He's so quick, so good at
getting to the rim I tried to force him into the big. With Foye,
he's a great shooter, so we tried to close out really hard on
him and make him put the ball on the ground."
Even with the punchless backcourt, the Nuggets rallied after
Jefferson hit a 3-pointer and a running jumper before feeding
Favors for a dunk to Utah a 65-49 with 3:20 gone in the third
Denver stormed back in the next six minutes. Hamilton had a
trailing 3-pointer, forward Darrell Arthur a dunk and then
Hamilton gave the Nuggets a 70-69 lead with a fall-away,
It was the Nuggets' first lead since 4-3.
Denver led 75-73 heading into the fourth after Hamilton's
three-point play with 1.6 seconds left in the third.
"We kept our poise, we stayed together," forward Marvin Williams
The Jazz started the game by hitting their first four 3-pointers
and six of their first shots overall. They built an early
10-point lead but saw the Nuggets cut it to one midway through
the second quarter.
"They came out and hit us early," Miller said. "Four or five
3-pointers to start the game. It was just an uphill battle the
rest of the game."
Hayward helped Utah get some separation late in the quarter. He
hit four free throws, sank a 20-footer and fed Favors for a dunk
as the Jazz went on a 14-6 run to end the half with a 53-44
NOTES: Nuggets G Ty Lawson returned to the lineup after missing
the last week with a strained left hamstring. Lawson, the team's
leading scorer at 19.3 points a game, missed the last two games
of Denver's six-game Eastern Conference road trip. ... Entering
Friday, the Jazz have gone 4-6 since starting the season 1-13.
... Before the game, the Nuggets had a moment to acknowledge the
people impacted by the shooting at Arapahoe High School in
nearby Littleton. ... The Jazz came into Friday's game ranked
first in the NBA in 3-point shooting in December at 45.5 percent
(40-for-88). ... Denver's 75 points in Monday's 75-74 victory
over the Washington Wizards were the fewest in a win since
beating Dallas 75-71 on April 6, 2007.
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