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Nuggets 113, Jazz 96

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, and the Denver Nuggets shot 56.2 percent in a convincing 113-96 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

Seven Nuggets hit double figures in scoring, including Kenneth Faried (19 points) and Evan Fournier (18). Denver improved to 51-24, the third-best record in the Western Conference, with the rare blowout win in Utah.

Utah's Gordon Hayward scored 18 points while Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap each contributed 16, but the Jazz saw their season-high, five-game winning streak end.

The loss dropped the Jazz to 39-37, a half-game behind the idle Los Angeles Lakers (39-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Denver, playing without injured Ty Lawson (foot), took a five-point lead into halftime.

The Nuggets burst out of the locker room with an 8-0 run, including a 3-pointer and dunk from Andre Iguodala, to go ahead 64-51 at the 8:27 mark of the third quarter.

Utah wasn't able to get its deficit under double digits the rest of the way.

Denver scored 57 second-half points and went ahead by as many as 21 points en route to its 17th win in its last 19 outings.

Former Jazz big man Kosta Koufos only scored two points, but he had 13 of Denver's 42 rebounds. The Jazz only had 33 boards.

Utah shot 46.4 percent and scored under 100 points for the first time in seven games. The Jazz only had 45 second-half points.

Denver hit 56.2 percent of its shots.

Utah's backcourt struggled in this one after several big games in a row.

Starting point guard Mo Williams hit just two of 12 shots for four points, while shooting guard Randy Foye had seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Andre Miller (13 points) and Iguodala (10 points) each had six assists for Denver.

NOTES: Denver coach George Karl on crafty 37-year-old Miller: "You don't even get to see when he takes the four worst players in the gym and beats the five best players and talks trash." ... Miller led nearby University of Utah to the NCAA championship game 15 years ago. The Utes held a 10-point second-half lead before losing to Kentucky 78-69. ... D-League call-up Jerel McNeal dressed for the first time since signing a 10-day contract for the Jazz a week ago Wednesday. However, he didn't play. ... Utah was without backups Enes Kanter (shoulder) and Kevin Murphy (skin infection). The Jazz still haven't given a timetable for Kanter's return, but Jefferson said he's impressed with the 20-year-old's demeanor. "My man, I've never seen a guy who got hurt and be just in a positive attitude and happy," Jefferson said. "You'd think he's still the same guy and not even hurt."
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