The Utah Jazz (3-2) defeated the Denver Nuggets (2-3) 96-84, and are no longer in the Northwest division cellar. No, they are tied for 3rd best in the West now with the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs. I guess all those teams with 3-2 records are close now, but what we learn every year with the "While you were sleeping" updates is that the West is always tough. And that's why securing those early season division and conference wins are so vital. And that, along with bouncing back from a pitiful performance on Wednesday night, is precisely what the Utah Jazz did. It wasn't easy, but the good guys got it done.
Denver started off trying to force the pace of play and get easy buckets in transition. Both Trey Burke came off the bench to make some shots and prevent the game from getting out of hand. Though, the Nuggets were up by five after one. wasn't active. was sick. And everyone else was getting beat going north/south. Trimming the lead to five because of an 8-0 run to finish the first? I'll take it.and were picking up fouls in the first quarter, again, and most fans thought "oh, here we go again!"
The Nuggets then became the team that 'took it', and they took it the rest of the game long. At one point there were up by 13, but they would lose the 2nd quarter by 3, the 3rd quarter by 3, and the 4th quarter by 11. The Jazz finished the second on an 11-2 run. Had a 13-3 run in the third. And a dominating 24-7 run in the fourth put the Jazz in the driver's seat. Fantastic.The team did it with Derrick Favors sitting out of the second half, and with Trevor Booker and starting. (Rodney Hood had another bad start)
You can clearly see the difference in how this team plays when Trey Burke, Alec Burks, and Trevor Booker are playing well -- they can give the team such a lift that allows for the defensive pressure to lay off of Gordon long enough for him to be G-Time. The Jazz took the lead late in the third, and extended it in the fourth.great energy and offensive rebounds were a big part of that. Alec Burks driving and dishing were a bit part of that. shot selection was a part of that. And heck yes, Gordon Hayward playing like we know he can was a big part of that.
Rudy Gobert was his dominant self on defense, but really needs to get some more easy baskets. If would have if Quin Snyder didn't empty the bench. Yes boys and girls, got into this game. That's how it was. Also, got his first career FGM today, on his birthday! Hooray!
Because of the Favors injury, and the fact that Mike Malone playedat power forward in the second half, we got to see some crazy lineups -- like Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, , Gordon Hayward, and Rudy Gobert. That's like a Stan VanGundy lineup.
On the other side of the ball, Danilo had a solid game, andwas beasting early and often . . . but they just didn't get the support they needed. and just don't have enough juice to get it done against longer, more athletic defenders.
- Gordon Hayward, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, shot 7/13 from the field, and 2/5 from deep
- Trevor Booker, 13 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 made three, 6/9 shooting
- Trey Burke, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2/5 from deep
- Alec Burks, 12 points, 8 assists (3 turn overs), 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1/2 from deep
- Rudy Gobert, 8 points (sadly 2/8 shooting, 4/10 from the FT line), 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks
- Rodney Hood, 8 points, 4 assists, 1 rebound, 1 block, 2/5 from deep
- Joe Ingles, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2/3 from deep
- Derrick Favors, 6 points, 3 rebounds, in 15 mins
Good win for the Jazz. Great bounce back game. Impressive that they did it with key injuries. And it was the second game of a back to back.