Utah (23-10) at Denver (16-14)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sat Jan 6, 2007
  • TV: KJZZ, ALT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Utah Jazz’s struggling offense could benefit from a matchup with the Denver Nuggets.

Coming off one of their poorest shooting performances of the season, the Jazz look to take advantage of a porous Nuggets defense when the Northwest Division rivals meet Saturday.

Utah (23-10) has failed to reach 100 points in a season-high four straight games, averaging 90.7 points during that span. The Jazz reached the 100-point mark in 22 of their previous 29 games, when they posted 102.2 points per game.

Utah, though, has a chance to get healthier on offense quickly against Denver (16-14), which is allowing 104.9 points per game.

The Jazz shot 40 percent from the field - their third-worst mark of the season - in a 100-86 loss at Houston on Friday night.

“All we took were outside shots,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “If you don’t run your offense, then you had better hit all your shots, and we didn’t.”

Deron Williams provided a bright spot for the Jazz. After struggling in his previous two games, the second-year point guard had 19 points, eight assists and made three of his four 3-point attempts against the Rockets.

Utah survived Williams’ 1-of-12 shooting in a 98-87 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday. He finished with a season-low seven points, after an eight-point effort in a 96-86 victory over Portland on Saturday.

Williams, who is averaging 16.5 points per game, failed to reach double digits only twice in his first 30 contests.

Jazz forward Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 17 rebounds against Houston, coming just two boards shy of his season high, set against the Rockets in the season opener. Boozer, who leads the team with 21.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, has 25 double-doubles this season.

Denver gave up its second-highest point total of the season Friday night in a 123-104 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets allowed 129 points in a win over Golden State on Nov. 24.

“We never got a defensive dimension in the game,” Nuggets coach George Karl said.

Denver has lost four straight games for the first time this season, and will look to avoid dropping five in a row for the first time since Jan. 2-11, 2005.

Nuggets guard Allen Iverson had only 16 points against the Lakers after averaging 28.8 in his first seven games since being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia.

Iverson was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Friday for his remarks about referee Steve Javie following Denver’s loss Tuesday to Philadelphia. He was ejected late in that game after picking up his second technical foul with 1:44 remaining.

In his decade with the 76ers, Iverson averaged 28.6 points in 15 games against the Jazz, but Philadelphia went 3-12 in those meetings.

Utah won its final three games against Denver last season after losing the first matchup 113-83 on Jan. 20, 2006. Boozer had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz to a 104-83 over the Nuggets on April 12 in the last meeting between the teams.

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Saturday, Jan 6