Matthew Stockman

The Roundup—Jazz lose in Denver after cold-shooting fourth quarter

by Matt Payne

Facing their toughest back-to-back of the young season—playing in Denver one night after a tough home loss to the Grizzlies—the Jazz held the lead heading into the fourth quarter only to go cold just as the Nuggets caught fire.

The result was a 103-88 loss in the Mile High City. Utah (4-5) has now dropped three straight games.

Jae Crowder led the Jazz with 21 points, while Donovan Mitchell (16 points, five steals), Rudy Gobert (12 points, 12 rebounds), Derrick Favors (12 points) and Ricky Rubio (11 points, six assists, four steals) also scored in double figures.

"I think we competed in the fourth quarter," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said after the game. "The score didn't reflect our effort, but ultimately you've got to put the ball in the basket, and we weren't able to do that in the fourth quarter."

Denver's backcourt of Gary Harris (20 points) and Jamal Murray (19 points) led the way in the victory, while star center Nikola Jokic finished off an unconventional double-double with seven points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists for the Nuggets (8-1).

If there was a silver lining for the Jazz, it was that none of their four key players who were injured during the game—Mitchell (ankle), Ingles (ankle), Gobert (knee) and Exum (shoulder)—are expected to miss any time.

Saturday's Best

Crowder once again provided a giant spark for the Jazz of the bench, finishing with a season-high 21 points (along with five rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks). Crowder, who's averaging 14.4 points per game, has now scored in double figures in seven of Utah's nine games.

Key Stretches

After an even, back-and-forth first half, the Jazz finally built a bit of a cushion with a 14-4 run midway through the third quarter. Joe Ingles made a 3-pointer (after missing his first three attempts) and then Mitchell grabbed a steal and took it coast to coast for an off-balance layup. Crowder added a three from the wing, Gobert scored four points (including a two-handed dunk) and Mitchell made another layup to give the Jazz a 73-64 lead. Utah took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Denver, though, opened the final period on a 23-5 run to steal control of the game. The Jazz shot only 4-for-17 in the fourth quarter as they watched shot after shot rattle out. Denver's Malik Beasley scored 11 points and shot 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the final 12 minutes.

Significant Stats

9.1

The Jazz struggled mightily from long distance against the Nuggets, shooting 6-for-31 (19.4 percent) as a team. Taking it further, everyone not named Jae Crowder (who went 4-for-9) shot only only 2-for-22 (9.1 percent) from 3-point range. Mitchell shot 0-for-7 while Rubio and Ingles each went 1-for-4.

18

The 15-point final margin is a bit misleading as the game featured seven ties and a whopping 18 lead changes.

Coach's Quote of the Night

"Our offense put a lot of pressure on our defense as the game progressed—not being able to get the ball to go in the basket makes it harder to defend."

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

Notable

Mitchell tied his career high with five steals. ... The Jazz blocked seven shots. The Nuggets did not register a block. ... Mitchell and Gobert each picked up technical fouls. ... The Nuggets assisted on 32 of their 41 made field goals. ... Utah shot 16-for-24 (66.7 percent) from the free-throw line.

Up Next

The Jazz will return home to face the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 7pm MT.