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The Roundup—Jazz 106, Nuggets 77
Make that three straight wins.
A balanced attack and dominant second half propelled the Jazz to a 106-77 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.
After losing seven of eight games, the Jazz (10-11) seem to be finding their groove again. Six Utah players scored in double figures, with Derrick Favors (24 points) leading the way.
Jonas Jerebko (15 points) and Royce O'Neale (11 points) tied and set season highs in scoring, respecitively, while Donovan Mitchell scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Alec Burks came off the bench to score 14 points, and Ricky Rubio finished with 15 points and five assists in the win.
Gary Harris led the Nuggets (11-9) with 18 points, while Kenneth Faried (11 points) and Jamal Murray (10 points) were the only other Denver players to crack double digits.
Star center Nikola Jokic was quiet with seven points, six rebounds and six assists. It marked the second time this season that Jokic has struggled in Utah—the 6-foot-10 center had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting in the season opener (a 106-96 Utah victory) on October 18.
Favors owned the paint and stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points (on 12-for-16 shooting), nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, three blocks and a game-high net rating of +30 in 33 minutes. He threw down putback dunks, drilled baby hooks and mid-range jumpers, and was his usual menacing self on the defensive block.
Denver scored 12 straight points midway through the first quarter, but the Jazz responded with a 14-5 run to take the lead. Raul Neto put in a layup. O'Neale and Burks drilled corner threes. And two straight steals by Thabo Sefolosha led to two transition buckets (a dunk by Sefolosha and a layup by Burks—both over former Jazz forward Trey Lyles).
The Jazz trailed by one at halftime but came out firing with a 20-6 run to open the third quarter. Jerebko drilled a corner three, and then Favors drove hard to the hoop for a layup, prompting a quick timeout by Nuggets coach Michael Malone. The Jazz forced two straight Denver turnovers, and then Rubio drilled a mid-range jumper and Joe Ingles canned a three from the wing. Jerebko hit another corner three and Ingles put in a crafty layup to give Utah a 14-point lead.
Utah put the icing on the cake with a lightning-quick 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter. Favors maade three buckets—a dunk and two jumpers—and then O'Neale and Mitchell canned back-to-back threes to give Utah a 24-point lead with 6:12 left in the game.
The Jazz were once again hot from distance, shooting 14-for-32 (43.8 percent) as a team from beyond the arc. Jerebko (3-for-4), O'Neale (3-for-4), Burks (3-for-5), Mitchell (2-for-5) and Rubio (2-for-5) each made multiple 3-pointers for the Jazz.
Utah outscored Denver 58-28 in the second half. After scoring 49 points in the first half, the Nuggets shot an ice-cold 11-for-36 (30.6 percent) in the second half. They were a garbage-time bucket by Malik Beasley away from failing to crack double figures in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz forced 18 Denver turnovers and converted those into 28 points. The Nuggets scored only nine points off of Utah's 11 turnovers.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"That was a really good defensive effort for us, especially in the second half. We were able to do a better job on the defensive glass, so I was pleased to see that. ... I feel like our habits are getting better, and that's a credit to the work the guys have been doing and the focus they've given those things."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Rodney Hood (sore ankle) did not play for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert (knee), Joe Johnson (wrist) and Danté Exum (shoulder) also remained out. ... Paul Millsap (wrist) and Wilson Chandler (back) sat out for Denver. ... The Jazz outscored the Nuggets 46-32 in the paint and 18-7 on second-chance points. ... Ingles scored only five points on 2-for-7 shooting, but he led the Jazz with six assists. ... The Jazz are now 9-4 at home this season.
The Jazz will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm MT.