Favors, Jerebko Lead the Way in Jazz’s Rout of Nuggets

November 29th, 2017 | by Steve Godfrey

Melissa Majchrzak via utahjazz.com

The absence of Utah’s leading scorer didn’t slow them down much in Tuesday’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets. Rodney Hood and his 17.7 points per game weren’t available, but other Jazz players pitched in to give the Jazz another blowout victory, 106-77. Utah has now won four of its last five.

The Review

The Jazz jumped out to an early 12-7 lead, but Denver responded with a 12-0 run. Rubio broke the Nuggets’ streak when he drove straight to the lane and tossed in an easy layup to pull the Jazz back to within five, 14-19. Later, Utah’s bench finished the quarter with back-to-back forced turnovers and easy buckets to take a 26-24 lead. Turnovers were the story of the game early as the Jazz forced 6 TOs in the quarter, leading to 11 points while Denver had a goose egg, 0, in points off TOs in that opening stanza.

The second quarter went back-and-forth, and in all there were thirteen lead changes in the first 24 minutes. Gary Harris led the Nuggets with 14 points at the half while Jonas Jerebko had nine for the Jazz. The Jazz were outrebounded, 27-16, but completely owned the points in the paint, 26-16.

Utah started strong in the third quarter, with a 10-0 run that put them ahead for good. Jerebko continued to lead the way, tying his season high for points (15) with six minutes to play in the third. When Mitchell picked up his fourth foul, Joe Ingles took over point-forward duties. He had some good assists down low to the bigs, but also picked up two turnovers in the period.

Derrick Favors and the Jazz put the game away for good early in the fourth quarter. Favors took over,  scoring eight straight points and assisting an open Donovan Mitchell three before finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds. He also helped hold promising Serbian Nikola Jokic to seven points and six rebounds. Harris led the Nugs in points with 18, but his efforts couldn’t save Denver from a new season-low scoring effort. The Nuggets’ previous season low for points was 82, and Jazz held them to 77.

Three’s Company

Coming into the night, the sign to monitor was threes. It had proved the difference maker during the recent run. Consider, in the last four games, the Jazz shot the following from deep:

  • 14-for-34 in a win over Orlando
  • 9-for-28 in the loss to Philly
  • 14-for-35 in the win over Chicago
  • And the franchise-record 18-for-32 over in the win over Milwaukee.

If the Jazz shoot better than 40%, they are in a good spot. On top of that, putting up 30 attempts from deep is right where the Jazz want to be. After Rudy Gobert went out with the knee injury, the Jazz shifted their identity from a defensive centered force to a little more offense. Case in point: they went from 28 thee attempts a game with Gobert in the lineup to their current average of 32 a game without their Stifle Tower.

Tuesday night was the same story. By halftime the Jazz had shot 14 deep bombs, connecting on six for a 42 percent mark. They exploded for 4-for-8 in the third quarter, helping them balloon the lead in the Jazz’s favor. By the end of the night, the Jazz went 14-for-32 for 43%, which is right in the comfort zone for these fellas.

Mitchell vs. Lyles

On the evening of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Jazz traded Trey Lyles and their No. 24 pick to Denver for the rights to pick thirteenth, where they selected a guard out of Lousiville. Lyles hasn’t played much for Denver this year (averages eight min/night) but with the Paul Milsap injury, he’s seen an increase in activity. On Tuesday night, Lyles saw 18 minutes and chipped in six points and two rebounds, but the Nuggets were outscored by 17 during his minutes, and he missed both of his attempts from three.

Mitchell’s stat line says he didn’t too much better. He’s been one of the best rookies in the league, and the best in recent Jazz history, but foul trouble seemed to disrupt his rhythm early. His shot wasn’t falling, proving again that his consistency will be a roller-coaster. However, Mitchell hit some shots in the fourth to give him 16 points with two assists and two steals. More telling, however, was that the Jazz were +21 with him on the floor.

Plays of the Game – there were too many to choose from.

Option A – Thabo Sefalosha comes in, strips former Jazz man Trey Lyles, cradles it all the way to the other end, and finishes with a rim-rocker in Lyles’ grill.

Option B – Mitchell gets the easy steal and breakaway but is fouled. He puts on a show anyway.

Option C – This drive and lay-in from Mitchell did count. The euro-step and nifty hand finish is something special.

Option D – The clear winner is always Rudy.

Brace Yourselves. December is Coming.

The Jazz finish November with a date with the Clippers on Thursday night but then the brutal December begins. Look at these deathly facts:

  • Nine of December’s 15 games are on the road.
  • 12 games vs. teams with winning records.
  • Three games vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Hardest month of any team in the NBA at any point this season.

 

Steve Godfrey

Steve studied journalism and English, and now teaches high school in Northern Utah. He started his own website and writes about being a Tortured Jazz fan at: http://www.thetorturedfan.com/. He joined the Salt City Hoops team at the start of the 2017-18 season to connect with more Jazz fans and to continue to apply his passion for writing and for basketball.

2 Comments

  1. Paul Johns says:

    Perhaps 3 games this month with OKC is a good thing. Play them and beat them 3 times before they get in sync. Then when they get their act together and go on a winning streak, the Jazz won’t have to play them again.

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