NBA Game Summary - Denver at Utah
(Saturday, April 12th)
Final Score: Utah 124, Denver 97
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Mehmet Okur was one of three Utah players with 20 points, as the Jazz pulled away to beat Denver, 124-97, and dealt a blow to the Nuggets' postseason chances.
Okur also had 15 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer finished with 20 points and seven assists, and Ronnie Brewer added 20 points and six helpers. Utah, which had already won the Northwest Division, has won five of six.
Deron Williams had 19 points and 11 assists for the Jazz.
Allen Iverson had 28 points for Denver, which fell into a tie for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot with Golden State, which beat the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Both teams have identical records (48-32) with two games to play, but the Nuggets hold the tiebreaker.
"We have to take care of business tomorrow," Iverson said, talking about Denver's game on Sunday against Houston. "There is no tomorrow after tomorrow if we don't take care of business."
Carmelo Anthony scored 22, while Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith had 12 and 11 points off the bench, respectively.
Despite a tumultuous first half, the game was a back-and-forth affair for the first seven minutes of the third quarter. With 5:29 remaining, Anthony made a jumper to bring the Nuggets within 74-73.
But Denver went scoreless for almost 1 1/2 minutes, as Utah took advantage with an eight-point burst, and never looked back, using it as a springboard to a pivotal stretch that put the game away. Brewer started it with a dunk, and Ronnie Price capped it with a pair of free throws to push the Jazz edge to 82-73.
Utah maintained the margin, at 90-79, going into the fourth quarter, and kept expanding it with extremely accurate shooting and a 13-5 run. After Smith started the stanza with a jumper, the Jazz reeled off six more points, and led 96-81 a little more than 1 1/2 minutes in.
Later, Okur made a three, and Kyle Korver followed with a reverse layup, giving Utah the 103-84 edge with 8:27 still left on the clock.
In that 13-5 run, Utah had eight field goal attempts and made six, while Denver made 2-of-4, but also had a pair of turnovers and fouls.
In the almost nine-minute span between the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth, Utah outscored Denver 29-11, and the Nuggets never recovered down the stretch. The Jazz lead hovered around 20 points the rest of the way.
"It was a big game. We've got to try and get home court and we know Denver needs one more win to get in to solidify it," Boozer said. "We came out with great effort, especially in the second half and shared the ball really well, did a good job defensively, and got a big win for us."
Utah scored the game's first six points, and kept up the strong play to lead 16-5, after a three-point play from Boozer a little more than four minutes in. The Jazz continued to take advantage of Denver's poor play, and went up by 16 on a Brewer jumper with under five minutes to go.
The Nuggets didn't reach double digits until Iverson answered Brewer's shot with a pair from the free throw line, bringing Denver within 25-11. Still, Utah held onto its sizable margin, and took a 40-25 advantage into the second quarter after Paul Millsap and Jason Hart ended the stanza with consecutive jumpers.
But Denver had a quick answer in the second quarter, starting the frame with a 14-0 run that held Utah scoreless for more than four minutes.
Iverson had six points in the surge, Smith scored four, and an Eduardo Najera dunk cut the Nuggets' deficit to one, at 40-39, with 8:02 to play. Boozer broke the Jazz dry spell with a layup, and the teams traded baskets for the rest of the half. A Brewer dunk put Utah up 62-59 at intermission.
Utah made 57.5 percent of its field goal attempts, but was just 5-of-19 from three-point range...Denver was 47.9 percent from the floor overall, and 3- of-15 from beyond the arc...The Jazz committed nine turnovers, compared to the Nuggets' 16...Korver blocked three shots...Utah had 37 assists, while Denver had 16...Hart had 12 points....The Nuggets close out their season with two home games, Sunday against the Rockets and Wednesday against Memphis.
04/13 02:01:00 ET