NBA Game Summary - Denver at Utah
(Saturday, February 6th)
Final Score: Utah 116, Denver 106
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Deron Williams recorded 22 points and nine assists to lead a balanced Utah attack in a 116-106 victory over the short-handed Nuggets in a Northwest Division battle at EnergySolutions Arena.
Andrei Kirilenko scored 22 points as well, while Carlos Boozer returned from a three-game absence (calf) to donate 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who moved to within two games of the division-leading Nuggets after their season-high eighth straight win.
Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles each came off the bench to chip in 16 and 12 points, respectively, for the victors.
Ty Lawson ended with a game-high 25 points in a spot-start for Denver, which was coming off a 126-113 win over the Lakers on Friday. Chauncey Billups had 39 points in that game but sprained his ankle, forcing him to join fellow All- Star Carmelo Anthony on the bench Saturday.
"You look out there and see they don't have Billups, and they don't have Carmelo Anthony, so we should've won real easily probably," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "But they beat us here with those two guys out the last time we played them and that shows you how strong their team is. They've got a terrific team, they're very good defensively, and they got up and got after us in the second half. We got a little selfish, started just taking shots rather than executing. We were all over the place. Once we executed, we at least had a chance to start offensive rebounding."
J.R. Smith ended with 19 points for Denver, which received 16 points apiece from Joey Graham and Kenyon Martin, who also grabbed 13 rebounds in a losing cause. It was the first loss in four meetings this season for the Nuggets against the Jazz.
"We were definitely missing Melo and Chauncey but that's no excuse not to go out there and perform to the level that we're capable of, playing together like we did," Nuggets forward Chris Andersen said. "We were gassed a little bit, but you've got to give Utah the credit. They definitely knew the numbers, it was 3-0, and they definitely came out and started to run us."
A 12-2 run late in the first quarter highlighted by a Boozer dunk helped the Jazz take a 38-28 lead into the second stanza.
Utah's advantage was 51-34 four minutes into the frame following Ronnie Price's putback slam, but the Nuggets scored 11 of the next 12 points to remain in striking distance, though they still trailed 66-55 at intermission.
Miles' three-pointer yielded an 85-69 lead past the midway point of the third before Andersen had a pair of three-point plays in a little over a minute to spark a 10-1 spurt for the visitors.
Utah led 93-86 after three frames, and an Anthony Carter dunk in the opening minute of the fourth made it a one-possession game, 93-90.
The Nuggets, though, went the next five-plus minutes without hitting a field goal, and Williams' driving layup with less than nine minutes remaining put the Jazz up 102-92.
Smith drained a three-pointer with 2:36 left to get as close as 110-104, but a Boozer putback and two Wesley Matthews free throws put the overmatched Nuggets down by double digits again.
Denver won the season series, 3-1...Utah has won its last 10 games at home...Anthony sat out for the eighth straight game due to an ankle injury...Andersen scored 15 points for the Nuggets, who turned the ball over 20 times...Both teams made the most of frequent opportunities at the foul line, as the Nuggets made 28-of-34 at the stripe, compared the Utah's 31-of-40 effort.
02/07 02:32:10 ET