Nuggets 102, Jazz 75
DENVER (AP)—Andre Miller had 24 points and 11 assists, and the Denver Nuggets defeated Utah 102-75 Sunday night to extend their lead over the Jazz for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs to 1 1/2 games.
Carmelo Anthony added 23 points and Nene had 20 for the Nuggets, who had lost nine of 12 and saw their six-game lead over the Jazz shrink to a half game entering Sunday. Marcus Camby had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Denver.
Rodney White’s jumper with 5:04 left gave the Nuggets a 94-66 lead.
The Nuggets led 54-39 early in the third quarter, but Arroyo had a 3-pointer and seven points in a 9-1 run for Utah that closed the gap to 56-48 with 8:14 left in the period. Nene and Miller finished fast breaks with layups to begin a 13-4 run for Denver that put them ahead 69-48.
The Jazz, who shot 9-for-25 in the third, got no closer than 69-54 after Tom Gugliotta’s reverse layup.
Earl Boykins came off the bench to score four points and have two steals in the final 3:48 as the Nuggets extended their lead to 77-57 after three quarters.
Denver nearly shut down Utah’s offense in the second quarter holding the Jazz to seven field goals and 19 points to build a 47-33 lead at the break. The Nuggets shot 11-for-13 from the free throw line, 6-of-6 by Miller, who scored the last four points of the half.
The Nuggets led 28-17 after the first quarter, outscoring Utah 14-3 over the last 5:46. Miller and Anthony had nine points each in the quarter while Utahmade only six of 17 shots.
Utah coach Jerry Sloan rejoined the team after spending time with his ill wife in Phoenix. … The Jazz played the second game of a five-game road trip. … Marcus Camby got his 501st assist. … Camby bloodied the right eye of Arroyo in the third quarter. … Denver clinched its first season series winover the Jazz since the 1995-96 season.