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Jazz 105, Nuggets 103

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Derrick Favors hit three clutch free throws down the stretch, and Al Jefferson scored 28 points as the Utah Jazz rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets 105-103 Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Jazz's defense was nowhere to be found in the first half, but it was Utah's defense that sealed the win down the stretch.

Utah's Randy Foye and DeMarre Carroll prevented Denver guard Ty Lawson from getting off a game-tying attempt as time ran out.

After giving up 65 points in the first half, the Jazz held the Nuggets to 38 points in the second half. That keyed Utah's sixth straight home win and helped the Jazz shake off a lackluster loss in Sacramento on Saturday night.

Kenneth Faried led Denver (8-7) with 21 points and nine rebounds. Lawson finished with 16 points and nine assists for the Nuggets, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Jefferson hit 10 of 15 shots. The Jazz also got big offensive nights from Favors (19 points), fill-in point guard Jamaal Tinsley (15 points, six assists) and Foye (11 points).

The Jazz turned things around in a big way in the third quarter. Utah outscored Denver 30-19 in the period, playing much more intense defense and showing more hustle to send the game into the fourth quarter tied.

Utah went ahead by four points on a couple of occasions in the fourth quarter, but the home team couldn't pull away from its Rocky Mountain rival.

Andre Miller, who played his college ball up the hill a couple of miles at the University of Utah, tied it at 102 with two free throws with 54.4 seconds left.

Favors gave the Jazz the lead back by hitting two foul shots with 41.5 seconds to go.

Denver pulled within one when Faried split two free-throw attempts, giving the Jazz the ball with a one-point lead and 27.8 seconds remaining. A Faried steal gave the Nuggets a shot to go ahead, but Miller's 3-point attempt was off target.

Favors ended up with the rebound, and he hit one of two foul shots with 3.6 seconds left to give the Nuggets one last chance to force overtime or win it. Foye blanketed Lawson, and then Carroll stepped into the quick point guard's path, forcing him to pass the ball away as time expired.

Based on the start of the game, it was impossible to tell that the Nuggets played Sunday night (a 102-84 home win over the New Orleans Hornets) and had to travel to Salt Lake City in the wee hours.

Denver hit 73 percent of its first-half shots while building a 16-point lead and settling for a 65-54 halftime advantage.

Of the nine Nuggets who scored in the high-scoring first half, Lawson was the only player to shoot below .500 (4-for-9). JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, former Jazz center Kosta Koufos, Corey Brewer and Timofey Mozgov went a combined 13-for-13 in the first two periods.

Utah, meanwhile, found itself trailing by double digits despite hitting 52.9 percent of its shots in the half.

Interior play was the big reason for Denver's huge first half. The Nuggets outscored the Jazz by a staggering 48-18 in the paint during the first 24 minutes.

NOTES: Utah starting point guard Mo Williams missed his second straight game with a moderately sprained right foot. He hopes to play Wednesday in New Orleans. ... The Jazz assigned rookie shooting guard Kevin Murphy to the Reno Bighorns of the D-League. ... Koufos was drafted by the Jazz with the 23rd pick of the 2008 draft. He was traded to Minnesota as part of the Al Jefferson deal in 2010 before landing in Denver. ... The Nuggets, ranked No. 1 in the NBA in rebounding, continued their domination on the glass, outrebounding the Jazz 38-31.

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