Jazz-Nuggets Preview

The Denver Nuggets are letting rookie Emmanuel Mudiay play through his mistakes.

The Utah Jazz simply don't make many.

Both these clubs are 2-2 and start a rookie in the backcourt as they meet for the first time Thursday night in Denver.

The Nuggets hired coach Mike Malone, who is trying to up the tempo behind Mudiay - the seventh pick in this year's draft. The 19-year-old is averaging a league-worst 6.3 turnovers and shooting 30.9 percent for one of the NBA's worst marks as he tries to get up to speed.

That doesn't mean there haven't been bright spots, as he had 10 points and six assists in the second half and finished with 12 and 10 for his first double-double in Tuesday's 120-109 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

''This was great for Emmanuel to go in there in a close game and have to make some plays,'' Malone said.

Jazz rookie guard Raul Neto has endured similar growing pains to Mudiay, making 7 of 21 shots and totaling 21 points.

He has seen his minutes decrease every game for Utah, which averages a league-low 11.5 turnovers - not even double Mudiay's mark. The Jazz entered Wednesday's action playing at the league's slowest pace with an average of 93.3 possessions per 48 minutes.

That was before Utah fell 108-92 to Portland in its home opener Wednesday thanks in part to season-low 37.5 percent shooting. Alec Burks scored 21 points and Gordon Hayward added 19.

Hayward made just 7 of 20 shots and continues to struggle at 35.2 percent from the field.

"Just haven't found a rhythm yet offensively," Hayward said. "Shots will fall for me, I have faith, I have trust in myself."

Coach Quin Snyder was more upset that his club allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot 53.2 percent. The Jazz's first three opponents shot 37.2.

"I don't think the issue was our offense frankly," Snyder said. "When people are scoring the way they were, we got absolutely nothing off our defense."

Derrick Favors made 2 of 7 shots for season lows of six points and 24 minutes one day after he was sent home from practice due to the flu. He averaged 21.3 points on 52.1 percent shooting in his first three games.

Utah averages 7.5 fast-break points for the league's worst mark and now will have to deal with the uptempo Nuggets in this second game of a back-to-back. The Jazz swept their first 2015-16 set and went 11-8 in the second halves a season ago.

Denver played at its preferred pace Tuesday as Kenneth Faried had 28 points and 15 boards and Danilo Gallinari added 21 points.

''Coach said we needed to get back to playing Nuggets basketball - running, attacking the paint, three or four passes,'' Faried said. ''I was able to exploit that. I was able to live in the paint, and then that opened things up for my guards.''

J.J. Hickson made 8 of 9 for 17 points in his first start in place of Joffrey Lauvergne, who sat out along with fellow center Nikola Jokic to rest back injuries.

Utah and Denver split four 2014-15 matchups.