Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — EnergySolutions Arena remained a friendly home for the Utah Jazz Monday night despite another slow start. Al Jefferson had a big night and the Jazz outlasted the young and talented Denver Nuggets, 105-103.
GUARDS: No Mo Williams again, but this time Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley made a bigger contribution in the points department. Watson and Tinsley did have a difficult time defending Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, especially in the first half, but the second half was much better comparatively. Lawson did own the Jazz front court when it came to penetrating the lane and Tinsley made a crucial turnover in the waning seconds of the game, but the overall performance was solid — especially since Lawson failed to even get a shot off with final clock winding down. GRADE: B.
FORWARDS: The Jazz needed toughness to make a comeback against the Nuggets, and they found it from their forwards. Derrick Favors and DeMarre Carroll provided toughness off the bench along with some point production. Favors finished with 19 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting, including some clutch free throws down the stretch. Carroll finished with nine points and forced a few turnovers in the second half. Marvin Williams and Paul Millsap didn't do much all night. GRADE: A-.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson had a big night as he led the Jazz with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting. The Jazz's interior defense lacked greatly as the Nuggets finished with 66 points, but it wasn't all Jefferson's fault. GRADE: A.
BENCH: The Jazz bench had a decent night overall with Favors enjoying the best performance of Utah's reserves. The bench showed defensive intensity at times as it finished with four blocks and four steals. Gordon Hayward struggled for the second consecutive game with four points on 1-of-8 shooting. GRADE: B+.
OVERALL: The Jazz's unblemished home record nearly became spotted for the first time — again. On this occasion, it was against a more worthy opponent. The Jazz showed resilience at home, however, and prevailed in another close one without their floor general in Mo Williams. Jefferson took a leadership role to help the Jazz through the close game and Favors showed more maturation and progression as a professional player. The only thing that will make the perfect home record look good is if the Jazz carry the momentum on the road and pick up a few victories. GRADE: A-.
Tyler Huskinson is a freelance journalist who loves to cover sports. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @TDHuskiSports.
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