Less than 24 hours after their nice road win over the Phoenix Suns, the tables turned and the Utah Jazz found themselves on the wrong end of a throttling. The Denver Nuggets simply took it to their division rivals, defeating the Jazz, 110-91, Saturday.
Utah was in the game the entire first half, leading a good portion of it. But a sloppy start to the second half — Denver scored six quick points in just over one minute — shifted the momentum, and the Nuggets’ lead ballooned. Utah mounted a comeback, but that ended with a strange turn of events where Jazz guard Gordon Hayward was called for offensive basket interference on a dunk, followed by Denver’s Andre Miller canning a 3-pointer. That five-point swing doused any hope for the Jazz.
Denver Dominance: Credit goes to the Nuggets for producing a strong, balanced performance. Denver did exactly what it needed in combating a team playing the second game of a back-to-back road trip. The Nuggets took it at the Jazz and did not let up at all.
One could merely look at the stat sheet to see how Denver came away with the win:
• The Nuggets took a page out of the Jazz’s typical repertoire, scoring a whopping 54 points in the paint, more than twice the total Utah could muster (24).
• Denver sported a 51 percent shooting mark from the field, compared to the Jazz’s paltry 36 percent. Utah never got into any groove, with Denver’s defense being the main factor.
• The Nuggets starters did most of the damage, earning most of the fourth quarter off in doing so. They outscored their Utah counterparts 81-53. Danilo Gallinari was particularly potent for Denver, registering 26 points in just 32 minutes.
Odds and ends:
• There were a lot of intertwining connections in Saturday’s game. Both Earl Watson and DeMarre Carroll have played for the Nuggets, while Denver’s Kosta Koufos was a Utah first-round draft pick. Miller naturally has a place in University of Utah history, while Alec Burks spent his collegiate career in Colorado.
• Utah played the role of thief in the loss, snatching 16 steals.
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.