NBA Regular Season: Denver Nuggets 103 at Utah Jazz 105 -- Game Recap

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Game #15 • EnergySolutions Arena • Salt Lake City, UT • November 26, 2012 • 7:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports • RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM and 1600 AM ESPN Deportes

NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 15:

Denver Nuggets 103 @ Utah Jazz 105

#DENatUTA Game Stream -- Denver Stiffs (SB Nation Blog) -- Nuggets vs Jazz coverage

Game Recap

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I called out the Jazz in the preview, they responded. Just as planned.

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First Half:

Let's not get into it. They were running, dunking, posing, taunting, and laughing. Al Jefferson then made the laughing stop.

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Second Half:

Too much to get into here. The Jazz were still in a hole at the half after an effective run in the second quarter made it respectable. The Jazz got angry and played with some pride, and a 6-0 run and a 14-0 run retook control of the game in the third quarter. Iggy got tossed, but not before he saw his Nuggets fall below the +/- line for the first time since the early part of the game.

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Yes, it looks like a mountain range, and we scaled it. via Popcornmachine.net

Al kept pouring it on, we kept feeding him, and a mixed lineup Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter went on a 12-6 run in the fourth quarter that changed Jazzfandom's idea of this game significantly. Before we were pissed because it looked like we would lose in a blowout. Now after that 12-6 fourth quarter run we would be pissed if we lost this game.

The crowd was rocking all second half (thanks to the desire to unite against a common foe, the refs -- who were horrible against both sides), and when Big Al came in for Enes, this mixed lineup finished the game and the Nuggets off.

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Top Performers:

  • Al Jefferson (C, 33:26) -- Big Al had 28 points (10/15 FG, 8/10 shooting from the line), 5 rebounds, and one very good technical foul. When the chips were down, and the wings' shots were falling he took it up on himself to do what he does best. He simplified the offense against a team incapable of defending him. Kosta Koufos was bigger, but not athletic enough. JaVale McGee was bigger, more athletic, but not smart enough. And Timofey Mozgov bigger than him, but not experienced. Al scored like a legit first option. A legit first option that is good enough on offense that he doesn't have to be ragged on anymore for his defense. He took the right shots, shots at the rim. He went into contact. He got to the line. He was unguardable one on one. He basically did everything I wanted him to do in my prescription for him, he took his medicine, and now he's getting better. It works every day when people are compliant. It's working for Big Al now. And yes, I did tell people so -- but national and local people alike weren't so happy with what I wanted him to do. (I wrote about precisely this back on September 14th!) Too bad, offensively he did his work in the paint and it worked. We got the win.

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  • Derrick Favors (PF/C, 24:21) -- Favors did not play more than half the game, but he did very well, scoring 19 points off of 8 shots (2.38 PPS!, 6/8 FG, 7/9 FT), in addition to collecting 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a much needed defensive mindset.
  • Jamaal Tinsley (PG, 35:18) -- There are no more words . . . dude followed up a 4/6 three point shooting game with a 3/6 three point shooting night, and an overall 6/9 shooting night. In total, he got 15 points, and had 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Amazing.
  • DeMarre Carroll (SF, 22:53) -- Dude is all hustle, energy, and pressure. He didn't shoot well, but he did take 9 shots. Which Dave pointed out that it was tied for second most FGA on the team. Btw, if Alec Burks went 2/9 against Denver would people be happy? I don't think so. But with DeMarre getting 7 points off of 9 shots we ARE happy because he also had great defense (even on PGs), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. Good job man.
  • Enes Kanter (C/PF, 14:31) -- hardly played, and hardly made an impact; save for two key plays. The first was getting his own rebound off a missed shot, being patient, working, and muscling up the second chance point for his only bucket of the game. The second was where he out rebounded two Nuggets to collect a hugely important defensive rebound. Two plays, two rebounds, two points; and both times kept the Nuggets from getting two more possessions. Final score of the game? 105 to 103. It's the little things that eventually add up to make an overall positive effect. Kanter is doing the little things.

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Game Changer:

National observers will say it was Andrei Iguodala getting ejected late in the third quarter (a few minutes before the fourth). However, the Nuggets, who were up by 16 points at one point, were already losing as the Jazz climbed that mountain and took the lead when he was still on the floor. No, the game changer was Derrick Favors' play to finish the game. The starters got the team in a hole and climbed back to make it even. Favors pushed us over the top. In the fourth quarter he went 2/4 from the floor, 3/4 from the line, had 2 offensive boards, 2 blocks, and 1 assist. Derrick did more than just fill up the stat sheet, he also was playing with a high level of confidence. He was invaluable. And this isn't the first time he was so effective to end a close game. He's making a habit of this.

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Ooooohhhh Moment:

Diana and I talked about the Derrick Favors throw down fast break in the video; but I really appreciated that Al Jefferson ' Falling down ' moment where he just couldn't take it anymore and pushed Kenneth Faried and got a tech for it. Al was not happy. Then he got mad. Big Mad Al then wrecked their entire team. From the second quarter on Al went 6-10 shooting, and 8-10 from the FT line. Probably all of this was precipitated by Faried dunking and then staring Al down.

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The Good News:

  • Undefeated at home for the season.
  • Beat a division rival
  • payback for being blown out
  • won another game with a starter sitting out
  • Al Jefferson played Big, and had revenge for his bad showing against the Nuggets to start the season
  • Tyrone Corbin continues to try different lineups at times.
  • The FANS WERE GREAT AND LOUD IN THE SECOND HALF!

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The Bad News:

The Bad news is that, well, our team was getting their butts kicked in the first half, and that was our starters doing it. Yes, the starters ALSO came back in the third quarter to fight off that huge Nuggets lead -- and still had enough left in the gas tank to pull out the W. (The ending lineup had 2 starters in it) If we are perpetually starting from a hole, we're eventually going to be in one where we can't climb out of. We saw this in 2010-11. We know how it ends up.

Finishing strong is nice, but if we started that strong then maybe we could blow some teams out again . . . instead of having to claw all the way back from 15-20 down? Right?

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Going forward:

The Jazz finish up this "month" (November + 2 games book ending trips) with a game tomorrow night @ the New Orleans Hornets, @ the Oklahoma City Thunder, and @ the Houston Rockets. And then things get better. Way better. Like 7 of the next 14 at home better. Which may not look like much, but it's better than 12 of the first 18 on the road.

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Post Game Immediate Reaction Video:

If you missed this somehow . . .

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