NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 5th (All times Eastern)
Utah Jazz (17-17) at Denver Nuggets (18-16), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets will have to dust themselves off and try again to stay dominant at home when they close out a three-game residency Saturday night versus the Utah Jazz at the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets had won eight in a row in the Rocky Mountains until a 101-97 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves two days ago. Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson each scored 16 points for the Nuggets, who dropped to 10-2 as the host and are in the midst of playing 15 of 18 games in Colorado.
Andre Iguodala finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Denver, which was outrebounded 52-39. The Nuggets only turned the ball over eight times and scored 21 points off 13 Minnesota turnovers. Still, Nuggets coach George Karl wasn't impressed.
"There are always four or five games a year you embarrass yourself and tonight was one of those nights," Karl said. "We were settling for jump shots and that's not who we are. We drifted away from who we are."
Iguodala, in his first season with Denver since a four-team teal over the summer, said the youth movement has to settle in and the inexperience with some players has to change. He added "it takes games like this" to get back on track and playing at a "high level" is a must every night.
Denver, which has split its last eight games, will visit the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday before returning home for a four-game homestand versus Orlando, Cleveland, Golden State and Portland.
Utah has won two in a row thanks to an 87-80 road victory Friday night over the Phoenix Suns. Al Jefferson may have led the way with 21 points, but he gave all the credit to his fellow frontcourt member.
"When Paul scores like that, we don't lose," said Jefferson.
The Paul Jefferson was referring to was Millsap. He scored 19 points on 9- for-16 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and picked up five steals.
"We were in tune," said Millsap. "That's why every game is so important; you never know which one is going to be your confidence booster."
The Jazz only committed 12 turnovers on Friday and forced 21 from the Suns. Utah shot a dismal 11 percent from the 3-point line, but the Jazz bench outscored the Suns' reserves, 32-14.
Utah will be without starting point guard Mo Williams for weeks after thumb surgery. Reserve big man Enes Kanter missed Friday's game with a sprained ankle and his availability for Saturday is in question.
The Jazz and Nuggets have split a pair of meetings this season, and will close the season series April 3 in Salt Lake City. Utah edged the Nuggets, 105-103, at home the last time the teams met on Nov. 26, gaining a measure of revenge for a 104-84 loss on Nov. 9 in the Rockies.
Utah has lost seven of nine and eight of its last 11 at Denver.
01/05 10:47:06 ET