SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Paul Millsap had career-highs of 22 points and 19 rebounds, rallying the Utah Jazz from a disastrous start in a 105-93 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series Friday night.
The Jazz lead Denver 2-1 in the series with Game 4 on Sunday in Utah, where the loud and rowdy fans lived up to their reputation Friday and added to the Nuggets' miseries with endless taunts.
Utah limited Denver's Carmelo Anthony to 25 points and flustered him into five fouls.
Deron Williams finished with 24 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, while Carlos Boozer added 18 points despite missing his first five shots.
Chauncey Billups also scored 25 points, but he and Anthony were the only Denver players to finish in double figures. The Nuggets got off to a quick start, then imploded after Millsap revived the Jazz early in the second quarter with an 8-2 run that tied it.
Wesley Matthews added 14 points and pestered Anthony into foul trouble for the second straight game. C.J. Miles added 10 points for Utah.
Williams and Boozer struggled through the first half, but the Jazz were able to recover thanks to Millsap. He made his first nine shots and finished 11 of 14 from the field for Utah, which dominated the second and third quarters after Denver had pulled away by 11 points in the first.
The Jazz outscored Denver 31-21 in the second quarter, then topped that with 32 points in the third while holding the flustered Nuggets to 20. Denver's woes slowly built throughout the quarter as the Jazz quickly pounced to stop any rallies, then the Nuggets really lost their composure at the end of the period.
The Jazz were already surging before Matthews took a high elbow while defending Anthony with 1:05 left in the third, sending Denver's frustrated superstar to the bench with his fifth foul.
Anthony, who had four offensive fouls and fouled out in Game 2, was stuck watching as the Jazz took an 84-68 lead into the fourth quarter and continued surging early in the final period.
Utah's lead reached 23 points and even Anthony, who scored 42 in the series opener, couldn't rescue Denver when he returned in the fourth.
Millsap had never made more than seven shots in a playoff game. He was 9 of 9 in the first half and his 18 points were one better than his previous postseason high of 17 scored against the Lakers two years ago. Millsap didn't miss a shot until late in the third quarter and Boozer was right there for the offensive rebound and putback that gave Utah an 80-63 lead.
His previous rebounding high was 17.
Millsap rescued the Jazz from a wretched start, leading a group of mostly reserves on an 8-2 run to at the start of the second period that tied it. Millsap made all eight of his shots in the period, opening with a few inside and then hitting outside jumpers when the Nuggets backed off to keep him from sneaking back under the basket.
Denver shot 53 percent in the period, but Utah made 70 percent while outscoring the Nuggets 31-21 in the period and taking a 52-48 halftime lead.
NOTES: Kenyon Martin had 13 rebounds for the Nuggets. ... The Jazz posted a large get-well banner that was covered with greetings for center Mehmet Okur, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the series opener and is out for the remainder of the playoffs. ... Jazz fans stopped their anti-Denver chants for a few moments and switched to ``M-V-P'' as Williams drew a foul on a three-point play in the first quarter. ... Denver had 14 turnovers to Utah's nine.