Entering Wednesday’s game, the Utah Jazz were one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Unfortunately for them, the Denver Nuggets are one of the league’s best the past three months. The Jazz lost the battle as the Nuggets simply dominated en route to a 113-96 drubbing.
During Utah’s five-game win streak, the Jazz played only one team above .500. As a result, Denver was a true test for the Jazz, and they did not score well. Denver’s depth, athleticism, passing and cutthroat defense were all too much for Utah to handle. Even without their leading scorer in point guard Ty Lawson, the Nuggets' attack was very impressive.
The Jazz fell to ninth place in the Western Conference, half a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers in a playoff race that undoubtedly will go down to the wire.
Offensive juggernaut: The Nuggets could be the deepest team in the NBA. They are teeming with capable players who play with high energy and intensity on both ends of the court. Offensively, Denver was excellent vs. Utah. The numbers help explain:
— Denver dictated the pace of the game all night, running after both makes and misses. The Nuggets were able to put 19 fast-break points on the board.
— Their stifling, suffocating defense led to easy baskets as the Nuggets scored a stellar 21 points off Utah’s nine turnovers.
— Their athleticism and savvy passing led to a bevy of interior shots. Denver beat the Jazz in their own game, outscoring their opponents 58-40 in the paint.
— While the Nuggets shot a solid 7 of 18 from three-point distance, they shot 34 of 55 on their two-point attempts — 61.8 percent.
— Denver’s aggressive offensive tone was rewarded with 32 free-throw attempts. It outscored the Jazz by 12 from the charity stripe.
— Seven Nuggets players reached double figures with no one playing more than 33 minutes.
Off guards: A lot of the credit for Utah’s recent winning ways deservedly goes to Randy Foye and Mo Williams. It should not be any surprise then that the Jazz were blown out when the pair struggled Wednesday. The back court combined to shoot a mere 4 of 21, including just 2 of 11 from downtown. They managed just 11 total points in 59 minutes.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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