Jazz dominate from perimeter, top Nuggets 114-108
SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell scored 35 points and made a season-high six 3-pointers to lead the Utah Jazz to a 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.
Ricky Rubio added 17 points and six assists, Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Joe Ingles added 14 points and eight assists and Jae Crowder had 15 points for Utah, which won for the ninth time in 11 games after hitting 19 3-pointers.
Nikola Jokic scored 28 points and had 21 rebounds and six assists to lead the Nuggets, whose two-game winning streak ended despite shooting 42 of 88 — 48 percent — from the field. Will Barton added 22 points and a season-high nine rebounds.
The game got a bit heated early when Utah’s Derrick Favors and Denver’s Mason Plumlee were both ejected with 2:46 left in the first quarter. The two shoved each either under the Nuggets basket, leading to more shoving from multiple players on both teams. Favors and Plumlee each received a technical foul, as did Utah’s Royce O’Neale and Denver’s Will Barton for pushing and shoving in the scrum.
The Nuggets, who fell behind by double-digits in the first quarter, closed the gap and briefly overtook the Jazz when Barton made back-to-back baskets to cap a 9-0 run and give Denver a 31-30 lead early in the second quarter.
It didn’t last long. Rubio and Gobert scored on back-to-back plays to put Utah back in front less than a minute later. Denver tied it twice as the second quarter progressed, but the Jazz answered with seven 3-pointers over the final eight minutes of the half to stay in front. Mitchell scored four of those outside baskets and his final one of the quarter put Utah ahead 63-55.
The Jazz shot 13-of-27 (.481) from the perimeter in the first half, setting a franchise record for most 3-pointers made in a half. Denver stayed within striking distance by getting nine baskets in the paint in both quarters. The Nuggets scored 36 points in the paint before halftime.
Utah didn’t cool down from outside in the second half. Rubio and Mitchell bookended an 11-2 run with 3-pointers that gave the Jazz a 79-64 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Nuggets rallied and closed to within four at 111-107 on Barton’s 3 with 1:27 remaining. Gobert hit a pair of free throws on the other end, and then Mitchell blocked a layup attempt by Torrey Craig with 43.6 seconds left to help Utah halt the rally.
Nuggets: Barton dished out a season-high five assists. He’s averaging 3.0 assists over his last five games. … Denver gave up 21 points on 16 turnovers. … Jokic posted his 14th double-double in the Nuggets’ last 19 games. … Denver outscored Utah 54-32 in the paint.
Jazz: Mitchell has scored at least 30 points in five of his last eight games. He has tallied at least 24 in 10 straight games. … Utah edged Denver 22-18 in second-chance points. … Gobert earned his 40th double-double of the season. … The Jazz are the first Northwestern Division opponent to beat the Nuggets this season.
Nuggets: host the Suns on Friday.
Jazz: host the Timberwolves on Friday.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.