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The Roundup—Jazz falter late, fall to Denver in SLC
Three days off couldn't help the Utah Jazz as they dropped a 98-95 heartbreaker at home Wednesday night to the Denver Nuggets.
Utah led after the first, second and third quarters—and by as many as 15 in the second half—but Denver finished the game on a 17-5 run to steal the victory.
With the Jazz down by one and 12.9 seconds left to play, Mike Conley got into the lane but missed an off-balance jumper. After two free throws by the Nuggets with 5.8 seconds left, a running 3-point try by Bojan Bogdanović came up just short, bouncing off the front of the rim just before the final buzzer sounded.
"Some of the little things we were doing before, we haven't done [the past few games]," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "That shows up a lot of different ways, whether it's on the boards, breakdowns—everybody's got to do their job defensively. And then we've got to move the ball better. There's not just one thing to point to. Both ends affect each other. We don't get a stop or get a rebound, we turn the ball over, we lose an opportunity to score. It's a collective awareness and a collective sense of urgency."
Conley led the Jazz with 21 points, while Donovan Mitchell scored 18 points on 8-for-24 shooting. Bogdanović, Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson each finished with 16 points in the loss.
A dunk by Gobert and three straight buckets by Conley—including two 3-pointers—gave Utah a 15-point lead in the third quarter, but Denver responded with a 20-4 run to retake the lead. The Jazz went back ahead by nine in the fourth quarter before shooting only 1-for-7 with six turnovers over the final six minutes.
After winning 19 of 21 games from December 11 through January 25, the Jazz (32-18) have now lost five straight.
"This has been a team that when things have been hard, we've dug in, worked harder and pushed through it. Sometimes that happens in a practice, and sometimes that has to happen in a game. We certainly didn't do that tonight," Snyder said. "This is where the character of the team kicks in. We'll keep working and execute better and be better. But right now it doesn't feel very good. We're not playing well, and the losses are a reflection of that."
Nikola Jokic (30 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals) and Jamal Murray (31 points) led the way for the Nuggets (36-16), who were playing for the second straight night and with only seven players due to a pending trade and a barrage of injuries. Monte Morris (15 points) also scored in double figures in the win.
Wednesday's Best: Mike Conley
Conley was hot for the second straight game, following up Saturday's 22-point performance in Portland with 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one steal against the Nuggets. The veteran point guard shot 5-for-9 from 3-point range and finished with a net rating of +1.
Denver grabbed 52 rebounds—compared to 46 for Utah—including 13 on the offensive glass, which led to a 16-11 advantage in second-chance points.
The Jazz committed 14 turnovers, right around their season average of 14.3, but the timing of the turnovers hurt in a big way tonight. Seven of those miscues came in the fourth quarter, and they resulted in 10 Denver points.
Gobert grabbed 14 rebounds for his 38th double-double of the season. ... The Jazz shot 14-for-39 (35.9 percent) from 3-point range. ... Gary Harris shot 0-for-13, setting a Nuggets franchise record for field goal attempts without a make. ... Will Barton (knee), Paul Millsap (knee), Jerami Grant (ankle), Michael Porter Jr. (ankle) and Mason Plumlee (cuboid) all missed the game for the Nuggets. ... Denver outscored Utah 46-38 in the paint. ... The Jazz are now 18-5 at home this season.
The Jazz will stay at home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm MT, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.