Carmelo Anthony lead all scoring with 21 points, and former Utes guard Andre Miller added 15 as the Nuggets won a 89 to 83 decision over the Jazz at the Delta Center. Mehmet Okur lead the Jazz with 19, including 7 in the first quarter, and Deron Williams chipped in 12 off the bench for the Jazz, who lost their 3rd pre-season game in a row. The game can be summarized quite easily; the Nuggets have a 5-10 point lead, Jazz come back and cut it to 1 or 2 points, then Jazz make stupid turnover, and the Nuggets league goes up to 5-10 points.
The Nuggets started off hot from the field connecting on 10 of their first 12 shots, building a 22 to 11 lead with out 4 minutes to go. The Jazz came back and got with-in one at 22-21, but turnovers by Deron Williams and Kris Humphries allowed the Nuggets to take a 26 to 21 lead after one.
The Jazz made another run at the Nuggets early in the second quarter and tied the game at 32 with a Jarron Collins free throw, but once again turnover hurt the Jazz. The Nuggets also proved to be much scrappier then the Jazz, as they dove for loose balls, and tipped many passes which lead to easy fast break points. The Nuggets scrappiness allowed them to go on another run at the end of the second to extend their lead to 49-41, this is after the Jazz cut the lead to 41-39.
The Nuggets again came out hot in the second half as they built up a 13 point lead which lasted most the quarter. The Jazz tried a combination of line ups to effect the Nuggets but nothing seemed to work in the third quarter. One lucky thing for the Jazz is that the Nuggets offense stagnated in the middle of the third quarter, unfortunately so then did the Jazz offense. The teams combined for 30 points in the quarter.
The Jazz finally found a lineup that would work against the Nuggets in the fourth quarter, they used Williams, Andre Owens, C.J. Miles, Kris Humphries, and Collins. This lineup allowed the Jazz to run a lot against the Nuggets, and Humphries kept the Nuggets off the boards. The Jazz scored the first 7 points of the quarter to cut the Nuggets lead to 3. But once again turnovers lead to easy points for Denver, the Jazz got close again when Deron Williams found C.J. Miles for an easy lay-up. But Carmelo Anthony would take advantage of his rookie defender and put the Nuggets out in front for good.
Keys for the Jazz
Stupid turnovers- This really has got to stop, The Jazz have about 5 turnovers before reaching the half court line. These types of turnovers are especially costly for a young team like the Jazz. The guards must also make better decisions on were they are passing the ball, Williams made two passes to a running Greg Ostertag at the half-court line, both of which became turnovers.
Scoring- the Jazz need to find a way to score, they had only two players in double figures. The Jazz have only broken the 100 point mark once in the pre-season. In-fact they havenít even scored 90 points in their last three games. The return of Carlos Boozer and a stable rotation may help the Jazz in this.
Keys for the Nuggets
Free Throw Shooting- The Nuggets could have put the Jazz away early in this game had they hit their free throws. This was especially evident in the late fourth quarter were the Nuggets had 4 straight trips to the charity stripe, and got only 3 points.
Defensive Rebounding- The Jazz ability to get second chances kept them in the game. This was another factor that really kept the Nuggets from putting away the Jazz, especially in the first quarter after building up an 8 point lead, the Jazz had three plays in a row were they scored on an offense rebound. If the Nuggets ever want to be an elite team they will need to do a better job at boxing out and grabbing the boards.
Kris Humphries- with Carlos Boozer being out Humphries is doing his best to passably steal the starting job from him. Humphries had a solid game, scoring 8 points, grabbing 9 boards, and assisting on two plays.
Carmelo Anthony- The Nuggets star caused fits for the Jazz, he was able to score 21 points on just 13 shots. This will really help the Nuggets if he continues to be able to score with fewer attempts.