Utah Jazz report card: Jazz struggle defensively — can't contain Nuggets
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — All winning streaks eventually come to an end and it did for the Utah Jazz against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday. The Nuggets were too big and too athletic for the Jazz to handle as they cruised to a 113-96 victory led by 21 points from Danilo Gallinari.
Guards: As the guards go, the Jazz usually go — and Mo Williams and Randy Foye played terrible after playing so well during the win streak. Williams finished with four points, seven assists and five rebounds while allowing Andre Miller to go for 13 points and six assists. Miller dominated Williams in the post on several occasions and pushed the tempo much quicker than the Jazz may have expected. Foye also had a difficult time guarding a bigger Andre Iguodala. GRADE: C-
Forwards: Gordon Hayward led the Jazz in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, but also had his struggles on defense with the assignment of guarding Gallinari, who led the Nuggets in scoring as was mentioned before. Paul Millsap is already undersized for his position and the assignment of guarding Kenneth Faried made for a very long night. Millsap finished with 16 points and three rebounds while allowing Faried to go for 19 points and eight boards. GRADE: B-
Centers: Al Jefferson was the only Jazz player to come close to a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Jefferson ended his streak of games with at least 20 points or more. Former Jazzman Kosta Koufos didn't do much in the scoring department with two points, but he wreaked havoc on the boards as he finished with 13. GRADE: B
Bench: Marvin Williams had the best night off the bench with 10 points, three assists and two rebounds. Derrick Favors and Alec Burks finished with eight points apiece to round out any performers of note. Bench production continues to dwindle with Hayward coming off the bench. GRADE: C
Overall: Despite improved performances on offense from the Jazz as of late, they have visibly struggled on defense and last night it eventually caught up to them. Denver is a solid team with big, athletic players and the Jazz did not know how to handle them. The Jazz seemed surprised by the break-neck pace the Nuggets ran despite the absence of starting point guard Ty Lawson. The Jazz fall out of the playoff picture with the loss and six games remaining in the season. GRADE: C-
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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