Jefferson, Jazz cruise past NuggetsMar 24, 2012 - 6:28 AM Denver Nuggets, 121-102, on Friday.
Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks had 15 points apiece, Paul Millsap added 14, Devin Harris finished with 13 and C.J. Miles and Derrick Favors both dropped in 12 in the Jazz's sixth straight win.
Utah is now tied with Denver and the idle Houston Rockets for the seventh spot in the Western Conference.
"This is what we wanted. We have been working our way back in it," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "We had a stretch there where we weren't playing as well, but we're back. It's going to be a dog fight the rest of the way. We can't afford to relax now that we're back in the picture. We have got to make sure that we continue to take care of business."
Al Harrington paced the Nuggets with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Kenneth Faried contributed 16 points and eight boards as Denver continued to alternate wins and losses over its last nine games.
"I thought they outworked us more than outplayed us," Denver coach George Karl said. "In this stage of the season, understanding how important this game was, they seemed to have a better understanding than we did."
Neither team took a lead larger than four points over a back-and-forth opening seven-plus minutes which saw three ties and two lead changes until a 6-2 spurt by the Jazz put them ahead, 21-16.
Denver, though, responded with an 11-4 swing to take a 27-25 lead and the teams traded baskets over the final 2 1/2 minutes until Harrington's three- pointer in the closing seconds gave the Nuggets a 32-30 lead after one.
It remained a one-possession game until a 7-2 push gave the Nuggets a 48-43 advantage near the midpoint of the frame.
But Utah closed the half with a 20-7 run that gave the Jazz a 63-55 lead at the break and carried that momentum into the second half with a dominating third quarter to run away with the game.
After an early Faried layup brought the Nuggets within 69-61, Utah reeled off a 22-3 run that included four Denver turnovers and nine straight missed shots by the Nuggets to stretch the Jazz's lead to a game-high 27 points, 91-64, on a Millsap layup.
Utah then cruised to the victory, taking a 94-76 lead into the fourth quarter and holding at least a 16-point advantage over the final 12 minutes.
Denver's Arron Afflalo was ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant 2 foul after elbowing Hayward...Utah's offensive output was its highest of the season...The Jazz shot 59.3 percent from the floor in the game while holding the Nuggets to 46.2 percent shooting...Denver turned the ball over 19 times, resulting in 28 Utah points.
- DENVER: 102
Mar 24 1:04 AM
- DENVER: 76
End of 3rd
Mar 24 12:32 AM
- DENVER: 55
Mar 23 11:48 PM
- DENVER: 32
End of 1st
Mar 23 11:12 PM
- DENVER: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 23 10:45 PM
- Towns, Porzingis unanimously selected to All-Rookie 1st team May 19
- Timberwolves' Towns is unanimous Rookie of the Year pick May 16
- Russia bans 24 basketball players in gambling case May 13
- New Jazz uniforms include sleeved alternate jersey May 12
- Utah Jazz extend contract of coach Quin Snyder May 6
- Jazz disappointed to miss playoffs, but gain experience Apr 14
- Nuggets miss postseason for a 3rd straight year Apr 14
- Kobe scores 60 points in unbelievable farewell victory Apr 14
- Playoff destination sealed, Blazers beat Nuggets 107-99 Apr 14
- Warriors' chase, Kobe's finale highlight NBA's final night Apr 13
- Nuggets-Trail Blazers Preview Apr 13
- Improved Kemba Walker has Hornets back in the playoffs Apr 12