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Jazz wins sixth straight at home

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- After pulling a no-show in the first half, the Utah Jazz's defense arrived in time to help them stay perfect at home.

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

But it was Utah's defense down the stretch that sealed its sixth straight home win.

Jazz wings Randy Foye and DeMarre Carroll prevented Denver guard Ty Lawson from getting off a game-tying attempt in the final 3.6 seconds, and time ran out on the Nuggets.

"I knew they were going to try and get it to Ty Lawson or Gallo (Danilo Gallinari)," Carroll said. "When I saw Ty drive, I've been playing against him all summer, I knew he was going to try and make something happen and go to the goal. I just tried to collapse. He saw me and time ran out."

After allowing Denver to shoot 73 percent and take a 65-54 first-half lead, the Jazz held the Nuggets to 38 points and 36.1 percent shooting in the second half. That keyed Utah's win and helped the Jazz shake off a lackluster loss in Sacramento on Saturday night.

"You give up (65) points in the first half when you're on your home floor to a team that played the night before, nobody was happy about that," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We had to understand that we needed to pick it up."

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.

Denver (8-7) ended the game without guard Andre Iguodala, who was ejected after getting two quick technical fouls late in the third quarter.

"I thought we fought. We were dealt with a lot of interesting stuff with Gallinari being sick and Andre being out," Denver coach George Karl said. "When the momentum turned, everything was going against us. I thought it was a game that we will learn from and learn some courage. To win in this building is a fight. It's a physical and mental fight."

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.

But Miller missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with seven seconds left, and Favors hit the third of his three last-minute free throws to give Utah a two-point edge with four seconds remaining.

Denver got one last shot to tie or win the chippy game when Favors missed one of his two free throws.

But Foye blanketed Lawson and 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 went ahead by 16 points and the Jazz looked listless.

Of the nine Nuggets who scored in the high-scoring first half, Lawson was the only player to shoot below 50 percent (4-for-9). JaVale McGee, 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.

Utah, however, turned that around by scoring 22 points in the paint to Denver's 18 in the second half.

"We didn't establish ourselves offensively/defensively early on in the second half," Koufos said. "I felt like we did that in the first half. We just had to carry that momentum from the first half to the second half. It'll be OK. It's early in the season."

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. It was a season-low rebounding total for Denver.
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