Nuggets’ late surge keeps Jazz winless
SALT LAKE CITY -- A rough start to the season keeps getting rougher for the Utah Jazz.
The Denver Nuggets’ opening doesn’t feel quite so bumpy anymore.
Guard Gordon Hayward and forward Derrick Favors each scored more than 20 points, but the Jazz continued their winless ways with a 100-81 loss to the Nuggets on Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
“It was a needed game for both teams,” Denver guard Andre Miller, who led the University of Utah to the 1998 NCAA championship game, said after scoring 15 points in his college town. “(Our) sense of urgency was a little bit better than theirs down the stretch. (It) could have went either way, but we found a way to pull it out.”
Guard Ty Lawson scored 17 points and handed out 10 assists to lead the Nuggets (2-4).
Denver forward Kenneth Faried had 15 points and 13 rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter after getting inadvertently hit by Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Faried held his throat, ran to the Denver bench, buried his head in a towel and left for the locker room. He was cleared to play after almost vomiting but didn’t return to action.
The Nuggets’ strong fourth quarter doomed Utah (0-8). The Jazz are off to their worst start since the inaugural 1974 squad began 0-11 in New Orleans.
Denver outscored Utah 30-13 in the final 12 minutes, turning a two-point lead at the beginning of the quarter into a blowout.
“(We) couldn’t make a shot ... mistakes, turnovers,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “The guys were playing hard. (We) just made critical mistakes in that fourth quarter. Give up 30 points ... but we only scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. Tough to overcome.”
The result was the sixth consecutive double-digit loss for the Jazz, who are the only team in the NBA without a win. Utah has a nine-game losing streak dating back to the final game of the 2012-13 season.
Hayward had a game-high 22 points, and Favors tallied 21 points and 13 rebounds, but the Jazz continued their NBA-worst shooting by hitting just 40.1 percent from the field.
The Jazz scored only 36 second-half points compared to 45 percent for the Nuggets. Denver outrebounded Utah 52-35 and had 18 assists to Utah’s 11.
“Good teams play for 48 minutes and they put it together. Bad runs or bad stretches, they limit them,” Jazz small forward Richard Jefferson said after a 2-for-10 shooting night that resulted in six points. “Right now, we’re not a good team.”
Denver scored the game’s first six points, but Utah responded with a Hayward-sparked 17-2 run to take the lead. The final points of that spurt were the most impressive, as Hayward forced Evan Fournier into a turnover, outhustled the Nuggets guard to gain possession before passing to center Enes Kanter for a dunk and a 19-10 Jazz lead.
Hayward, on a scoring tear since not being able to work out an extension with the Jazz, poured in 12 points in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the first quarter.
Denver began its comeback by scoring the final four points of the first quarter, cutting into Utah’s game-high 10-point lead.
The Jazz only scored one bucket, a jumper by guard Alec Burks, during a five-minute stretch in the second quarter when the Nuggets scored 11. Denver forward J.J. Hickson (14 points, nine rebounds) put Denver ahead 35-33 with a powerful, two-handed jam over 6-foot-9 small forward Marvin Williams.
The Nuggets quickly built on their one-point halftime lead by scoring the first five points of the second half. Denver built a seven-point lead in the third quarter after a Fournier 3-pointer and a free throw from forward Anthony Randolph at 2:46.
Favors scored seven straight points for Utah to trim the Nuggets’ advantage to 70-68 heading into the fourth quarter.
With Denver up 75-74, Miller hit a 3-pointer, Faried scored on a dunk, and former Jazz guard Randy Foye nailed a jumper for a 7-0 spurt that all but zapped Utah’s will.
Utah only scored five points in the final 6:48.
The Jazz were coming off of a brutal road trip in which they sustained lopsided losses in Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Toronto.
NOTES: PG Trey Burke received medical clearance to begin doing one-on-one workouts with Jazz staff after a check-up with the surgeon who did a procedure on his fractured right index finger on Oct. 15. “I guess it’s as good as it can be,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. Burke can do light dribbling, shooting and passing. Burke, the 2013 NCAA Player of the Year, broke the finger on his shooting hand in the Jazz’s third preseason game and has yet to play an NBA game. He will be re-evaluated Nov. 25. ... Denver F Wilson Chandler was listed as a game-time decision, but he did not dress for the game. He could see his first action of the year Wednesday when the Nuggets play the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Denver’s Randy Foye was one of six veteran free agents who played for the Jazz last season and weren’t re-signed. The shooting guard set multiple single-season 3-point-shooting records last year with Utah.