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Utah Jazz 85 Denver Nuggets 81 Game Recap: Derrick Favors, Defense, pound Denver

Thank God for Derrick!

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 85-81 in a forgettable game. Both teams combined for 28 turn overs, 38 fouls, and combined to shoot 9/40 from deep. It was sloppy at times with a team getting a 24 second shot clock violation on one end, only to get the ball back after the other commits a 3 seconds in the key violation. At times it was a three on one and the advantaged team wouldn't score. And at other times good defense would result in a blocked shot, where the ball goes right into the hands of the other team in scoring position. It wasn't the best game ever, but a win is a win. And the Utah Jazz extended their win streak to four games, and are now 4-1 on this home stand with one game remaining to go.

Early on the Nuggets took this game more seriously and were up by two after one, and up by six at half. It was another one of those "meh" starts for the team. Raul Neto looked good, Rudy Gobert looked good. But Derrick Favors couldn't make a shot. Rodney Hood was bricking things. And Gordon Hayward just wasn't touching the ball enough. Quin Snyder was forced into taking a countless number of time outs -- even if the Nuggets lead was just four points -- to try to get his team on track. At times the best players on the floor for Utah were Trevor Booker and Chris Johnson. That's not the way it's supposed to be.

After half the Jazz clamped down on defense. Seriously. Denver would only end up scoring 17 points in the third, and 18 in the fourth. And while the refs made themselves known to the world with their inconsistent ways, at the end of the day Gordon Hayward made some plays, and Derrick Favors two-way play helped deliver the win. I'm okay with saying that for most of this game Danilo Gallinari (24 points, 12/14 FT) was eating Gordon Hayward's lunch. Pre-game we predicted that this would be the marquee match-up. But late in the game, in crunch time much like against the Chicago Bulls, Gordon game on and took control. One thing Gallo didn't do was set his guys up, while Gordon had a 5 to 1 assist to turn over ratio. G-Time's 16 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6/6 shooting form the line when it mattered means more to me.

In a scrappy, crappy game that was closer than it should have been (+13 FTA advantage for the ROAD team) the Jazz lose this without Favors doing things on both ends of the court. Derrick missed out on a triple double and finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks. He shot 50% for the game despite starting off missing almost everything he threw up there. He held it down in the paint on defense on a night where Rudy Gobert wasn't dominating. And he was getting offensive rebounds, tap backs, and dunks on the offensive end. It was a steadfast performance from someone we've missed seeing out there on the court. Kenneth Faried had the highlight plays, but Favors dominated that match-up.

Raul Neto continues to impress, he finished with 10 points 4 rebounds, and 4 assists while going 2/4 from deep tonight. His defense on Emmanuel Mudiay was impressive when you consider the physical advantages one rookie has over the other. Trevor Booker is peaking at just the right time, he was throwing down huge dunks and blocking shots all game long. He finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steals, and went 4/5 for the night. (And yes, he missed a lay-up, but that's why he's dunking more now. He doesn't miss those) Trey Lyles played only 10 minutes, but scored 7 points, and pulled down 3 rebounds as well. This is an interesting fight between these two PFs. I do think Lyles' play and production is more sustainable, and he scored on jumpers, drives, layups, and a dribble pull up. Booker on dunks.

Speaking of sustainable, this game would have been over much sooner if starting shooting guard Rodney Hood didn't shoot 3/12 in this game (1/6 from three, 1/2 from the line). People can have bad games. And Rodney has had some spectacular games -- last week (LAST WHOLE WEEK) he shot 50 / 50 / 90. When he's on fire he's on fire. When he's not, well, you struggle to beat the Nuggets at home and have to come from behind and secure the lead in the 4th. People don't like Trey Burke. He shot 1/4 in this game. Hood shot 3/12. Which is more damaging? Trey Burke also had more rebounds, assists, and steals than Hood in 18 fewer minutes. Trey was +4 in +/- and Rodney was -3 as well. Hood got the clear out with the game on the line, drove halfway into the paint, had defense all around him, and threw up a bad shot that missed. If Trey did this the internet would be on fire. I guess we just like who we like.

Tonight was not spectacular. But there's some value to winning ugly. It's better than losing pretty. I'm happy for the win, clearly. But I think the Jazz need to know they have to bring that #CHIatUTA energy every night, especially at home. Good teams do that. And I know this team wants to be great. So they have work to do.

Utah plays next on Friday, at home hosting the Milwaukee Bucks. They play the next night down at the Phoenix Suns in a back-to-back set to cap off this week.