Given their performances this season in San Antonio, New Orleans and Memphis, perhaps no one is surprised by the Jazz's ugly 104-84 loss in Denver Friday night. The defeat marked Utah's seventh loss in nine games at the Pepsi Center.
GUARDS: As good as Mo Williams has been this season — he's leading Utah in points and assists per game — his two-point, four-assist, four-turnover night against the Nuggets didn't quite fit the description. With no free throws attempted, at least he remained a perfect 16-of-16 from the charity stripe so far this season. Gordon Hayward (15 points, 6-of-7 shooting) was great offensively, but Denver's counterparts, Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala, were better than the Jazz duo (combined 34 points, nine rebounds, eight assists). Interesting that Hayward played just 22 minutes, however. Randy Foye actually played more than six more but shot just 4-of-13 from the field. GRADE: C-.
FORWARDS: Poor performances from opposing small forwards Marvin Williams (5 points, 2-of-7 shooting) and Danilo Gallinari (five points on 2-of-11 shooting) negated each other, though Derrick Favors (11 rebounds and five blocks in just 25 minutes) played more than Williams. Paul Millsap (11 points, five rebounds, 25 minutes) wasn't spectacular, while Denver rookie Kenneth Faried's 18-point, 11-rebound night marked his fourth straight double-figure scoring game. GRADE: C-.
CENTERS: Let's just say Al Jefferson's performance Friday isn't why the Jazz are paying him $65 million over five years. Big Al can't expect to shoot 1-of-9 and expect to win, especially while his starting center opponent — a former Jazzman in Kosta Koufos, no less — tallies 15 points and nine rebounds in just 25 minutes (far above his four-season career averages of 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds). Enes Kanter (13 points, six rebounds, three blocks) was far better than Jefferson in 20 minutes in his highest point total of the regular season. GRADE: D+.
BENCH: The Jazz reserves did outscore their counterparts 47-42, but they didn't help themselves as Denver swingman Corey Brewer scored 20 points — nearly twice his season average. Alec Burks apparently was ready to put on a show in the state where he played in college (Colorado University). But it didn't quite work: the second-year player jacked up nine shots in just 14 minutes and made just one. GRADE: C.
OVERALL: Thirty-seven percent field-goal shooting — including 4-of-23 beyond the arc — and 18 turnovers spell perhaps the worst performance of the season for the Jazz. One must wonder why coach Tyrone Corbin held back Hayward and Favors. It's amazing how inept the Jazz have been on the road — especially considering they're the polar opposite in Salt Lake City. GRADE: C-.
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. Previously a Deseret News intern he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @wilklogan
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