DENVER (AP) – A blown dunk aside, Kenneth Faried‘s shooting touch has been spot-on of late.
Faried had 18 points to go with 11 rebounds, helping the Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz 104-84 on Friday night for their third win in a row after an 0-3 start.
“His energy is contagious,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “It is a big part of why we’re successful and it is going to have to be a big part of what we do this year.”
Faried’s exuberance got the better of him midway through the second quarter when he missed a wide-open dunk as his attempt at a stylish, windmill jam bounced off the back rim. But he shook off the gaffe to record his fourth consecutive game with 15 or more points, the longest such stretch of his career.
“I did miss that dunk and I knew it. I was kind of disappointed in myself but I just kept playing hard,” Faried said. “A lot of people don’t believe I can step out and hit the little 15- or 12-foot jumper, and my teammates do, so they get me in that position. I just jump up and shoot it.”
Faried had plenty of help on the offensive end from Corey Brewer, who scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, hitting four 3-pointers. Kosta Koufos and Andre Iguodala added 15 points apiece.
“He made it a game we could rest our guys for tomorrow,” Karl said of Brewer, referring to the Nuggets’ upcoming game at Golden State on Saturday. “Come the fourth quarter (Saturday), that could be important.”
Gordon Hayward had 15 points to lead the Jazz, who remained winless in four road games this season. Randy Foye and Enes Kanter each added 13 points for Utah, which made only four of 23 attempts from 3-point range.
“It wasn’t our best outing,” Hayward said. “We’ve got to figure out this road thing. This was a tough one for us. I think we’ve got to put it behind us.”
Summing up his team’s play, Utah coach Tyrone Corbin described it as “a very disappointing effort. We just didn’t execute.”
Corbin added after the game that guard Mo Williams strained his right abductor muscle during the third quarter. His status for Saturday’s game against Phoenix was uncertain.
Iguodala connected on a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 69-49 lead with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter. But the Jazz scored eight of the next 12 points, including a three-point play by Hayward to pull to 73-57 going into the fourth.
After Foye hit a 3 to get the Jazz within 75-63, Brewer hit two 3-pointers around a layup by Alec Burks, adding a free throw following the second long-distance shot to put the Nuggets up 82-65 with 9:14 remaining.
The Jazz whittled the Nuggets’ lead to 90-78 when Denver was called for goaltending on Jamaal Tinsley‘s layup with 4:22 remaining, only to see the Nuggets make it 96-78 after Brewer drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions.
The Nuggets took a 53-38 lead at halftime, closing the last 7 minutes of the second quarter with a 17-2 run.
After Derrick Favors made a pair of free throws to pull Utah into a 36-all tie, Brewer drove the lane to hit a twisting layup, starting the Nuggets’ second-quarter surge.
The only points in that stretch by the Jazz, who missed all nine of their 3-point tries in the first half, came on a pair of free throws by Foye with 3:30 remaining in the second. That was not nearly enough to offset a closing flourish by the Nuggets.
NOTES: The Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler, who is being eased back from offseason hip surgery, sat out for the third time in the past four games. … Timofey Mozgov made his season debut for the Nuggets after missing the first five games with a left knee strain. … Burks, who starred at Colorado before joining the Jazz a year ago as a first-round draft pick, was greeted with a round of applause when he entered in the second quarter. … Favors finished with five blocks.
– By DENNIS GEORGATOS, Associated Press
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