Jazz-Nuggets: Report card

Published: Sunday, Jan. 15 2012 9:43 p.m. MST

Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward (20) is fouled by Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) as Corey Brewer (13) looks on during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Jack Dempsey, ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER — These kids keeping humming along. Paul Millsap had a monster game as the Jazz beat the Nuggets 106-96 in Denver. Millsap scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Utah shot 52 percent from the field.

GUARDS: Devin Harris posted a solid 10-point, seven-assist effort. Jazz management can certainly live with Harris and Earl Watson totaling 14 assists together, as they did Sunday. Raja Bell also gave a tough 30 minutes in limiting Denver's Aaron Afflalo, who shot 4-10 from the floor. It still can be amazing that C.J. Miles can shoot 1-5 just a day after scoring 17 points on 6-8 shooting at home against New Jersey. Alec Burks turned in 10 points on 4-7 shooting in 18 minutes. Overall: B+

FORWARDS: Paul Millsap turned in perhaps his best performance of the young season and was noticeably more tenacious on the glass than Denver's Nene. His 26 points came on 12-19 shooting. Gordon Hayward was nearly as efficient, scoring 19 points on 7-13 from the floor, though his fouls helped Denver's Danilo Gallinari get to the line 12 times, where he converted each time. Overall: A

CENTERS: Al Jefferson continues his decent play, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 38 minutes. He did commit four turnovers. Denver's T. Mozgoz was limited to six points in 18 minutes. Enes Kanter turned in a fine performance off the bench in 11 minutes. Overall: A-

BENCH: Watson operated the offense smoothly when Harris was out. The bench would have been further guided had Josh Howard been available. He was kept out of the game with a left quad strain. Despite fantastic performances from the starters, the Jazz bench still outscored Denver's 26-25. Overall: B+

COACHING: Coach Tyrone Corbin's decision to play Bell 30 minutes, a move that could be criticized for most of this season's games, was hard to argue since the veteran was playing so effectively. Coaching : A

OVERALL: Utah's second battle against Denver this season marked one of the finest performances of the season for the Jazz. Utah's efficient shooting from the floor and smoothly-run offense, on the second half of a back-to-back, no less, indicates that this team may be tough to beat on any given day. The Jazz's defense was also worth lauding, as Denver shot less than 43 percent from the field. The Jazz gave an impressive showing and they didn't even have one of their key cogs in Howard. Overall: A-

Rhett Wilkinson is a journalism and speech communications major at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at rhett.wilkinson@yahoo.com or at Twitter: wilklogan

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