Kirilenko leads Jazz over Nuggets

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Andrei Kirilenko scored 22 points and Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 13 rebounds in his return to the lineup as the Utah Jazz won their eighth straight, beating the short-handed Denver Nuggets 116-106 on Saturday night.

The Jazz pulled within two games of the Nuggets in the Northwest Division and avoided a four-game sweep by Denver, which sat Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups for the second straight visit to Utah.

Even without their top two players, the Nuggets were able to cut a 17-point deficit to three early in the fourth quarter before Utah put the game away.

Deron Williams added 22 points, nine assists and three blocks for the Jazz. Kirilenko also had five steals.

Ty Lawson led Denver with 25 points.

Anthony and Billups, who scored a career-high 39 the night before in a win over the Lakers in Los Angeles, were both out with sprained ankles. It was the eighth game in a row Anthony missed. The Nuggets also rested Billups and still were able to hang with the Jazz until late in the game.

J.R. Smith scored 19 and Kenyon Martin had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Denver. Joey Graham also scored 16 and Chris Andersen 15.

The Nuggets were without Anthony and Billups when they played here on Jan. 2 and still won 105-95, but on Saturday Denver couldn't overcome 20 turnovers, which led to 22 points as the Jazz extended their winning streak and drew another game closer to Denver for first place in the division.

Boozer missed the previous three games with a strained right calf. Both he and Kirilenko went 8 for 11 from the floor. Paul Millsap had 16 points and six rebounds and C.J. Miles scored 12 for Utah.

After falling behind by 17, the Nuggets got back in it with a 12-3 run late in the third quarter, including two three-point plays by Chris Andersen. Utah led 93-86 entering the fourth and Denver continued to push. Allen scored right away, then Carter drove for a layup to cut it to 93-90 a minute into the final period.

But the Jazz regrouped and slowly rebuilt the lead back to double-figures and held on for their first win over the Nuggets.

NOTES: Millsap fouled out with 4:26 left in the game. ... The Jazz were 23 of 41 in the first half (56 percent). ... Graham was called for a flagrant foul on Ronnie Brewer with 8 minutes left in the third quarter. ... Brewer finished with eight assists.