Mitchell scores 46, Jazz beat Nuggets 118-108
SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell matched his career high with 46 points as the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 118-108 on Tuesday night.
Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Derrick Favors scored 16 points and Joe Ingles added 10 points and 13 assists as Utah won its last eight regular-season home games.
Malik Beasley scored 25 points to lead the Nuggets. Monte Morris added a season-high 22 points and Jamal Murray had 22. Gary Harris scored 15 points for Denver, which lost its second straight.
Mitchell scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 11 minutes in the first quarter as the Jazz raced to a lead. Mitchell took a steal in for a layup and drained a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to help Utah to a double-digit lead, 24-12, late in the quarter.
The Nuggets erased almost all of their deficit in the second quarter. Harris scored back-to-back baskets to cap a 12-4 run that cut Utah’s lead to 41-38.
The Nuggets pulled within a point later in the quarter, but missed a chance to take their first lead when Nikola Jokic missed a pair of free throws. Ingles answered with a 3-pointer at the other end that sparked a 9-3 run as Utah moved ahead 58-51 just before halftime.
After trailing the entire first half, Denver took its first lead at 61-60 when Harris hit a jumper to open the third quarter. Mitchell gave the Jazz some breathing room again later in the period when he converted a three-point play to spark a 13-3 run. Favors cut to the rim for a dunk to finish off the outburst and put Utah ahead 89-79.
Denver closed to within a basket again after consecutive baskets by Morris and Mason Plumlee cut the Jazz lead to 95-92. The Nuggets never got closer.
The Jazz scored on seven straight possessions, punctuated by a dunk from Royce O’Neale off a steal that gave Utah a 114-98 lead with 3:24 remaining.
Nuggets: Morris had his fifth 20-point game of the season. . Nikola Jokic played only 16 minutes before fouling out in the fourth quarter. He finished with a season-low two points on 1-of-6 shooting and a season-low two rebounds. Denver outscored Utah 64-18 in bench points. … The Nuggets entered a half-game ahead of Houston in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Denver can finish no lower than the No. 3 seed.
Jazz: Favors played for the first time in April after missing the previous four games with back spasms. . Ingles had his seventh game with at least 10 assists this season. Six have come since the All-Star break. . Utah had a 48-31 advantage on rebounds and a 13-6 edge in second-chance points.
Nuggets: Host Minnesota on Wednesday.
Jazz: At Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
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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.