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Nuggets Fall in Utah as Jazz has Big Second Half
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – If it was a movie, it would be the most frustrating kind of sequel. The Nuggets going into Utah with high hopes, but not leaving with a victory.
On Monday, the Nuggets couldn’t get anything going in the second half and fell to the Jazz 106-77 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. In the end, it came down to an inability to generate easy shots and paint points. The Nuggets are one of the NBA’s best teams at scoring in the paint, but though stout on-ball defense, walling off the paint and contesting anything that did get to the rim, Utah held the Nuggets to 32 points in the paint, 17 below their season average.
Meanwhile, Utah wore the Nuggets down on the defensive end. The Jazz is methodical with how it plays on offense. There are multiple passes, a ton of cutting and screening, and shooters at the end who knock down open looks late in the shot clock. Utah made 14 3-pointers in the game.
Still, through all of that, the Nuggets led at halftime, 49-48, when Kenneth Faried’s tip-in beat the buzzer. But the Jazz got out to a quick start in the third, putting the Nuggets in a double-digit deficit. They rallied to make it a 10-point game going into the fourth, but Utah quickly pushed that lead up to 25 points and held off the Nuggets from there.
The loss dropped the Nuggets to 3-7 on the road.
Denver was led by Gary Harris’s 18 points. Kenneth Faried started at power forward and put in 11 points and eight rebounds. Jamal Murray finished with 10 points. The Nuggets shot 35.9 percent from the field and 29 percent from the 3-point line.
Torrey Craig, who was recently called up from the G-League made his Nuggets season debut in the fourth quarter.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter