SALT LAKE CITY (AP)– Utah fans were booing in the first half Monday night as they watched another opponent build a double-digit lead.
In the end they were cheering yet another wild finish, this one a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets that kept the Jazz unbeaten at home.
“To win in this building, it’s a fight. It’s a physical and mental fight,” Nuggets coach George Karl said.
It didn’t literally come to that, but the game saw six individual technical fouls called, including a pair against Denver shooting guard Andre Iguodala with 3:24 left in the third quarter after the Jazz had gone on a 14-2 run to tie the score at 77.
They had trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and by 12 before the run.
It would be a tale of two halves by a Jazz team that can’t seem to lose at home or win on the road.
“We don’t want it to be like that,” said Jazz guard Randy Foye. “They played well. In the first half they ran us out of the gym. We ran them out in the second.”
“I thought they did a great job,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “All the guys were switching off on him and making sure it was difficult to beat us over the top. They had a couple of switches there at the end but just making him work for everything he got I thought slowed the tempo of their team down and knocked them off rhythm.”
Carroll credited his work this summer playing against Lawson. “I knew he was going to try to make something happen,” Carroll said. “He saw me and time ran out.”
Kenneth Faried led Denver with 21 points, and Lawson added 16 points but shot just 7 of 17.
Iguodala, who scored 23 points Sunday against New Orleans after posting a season-high 29 against Golden State, finished with 10 points, three rebounds and three turnovers.
“You can’t get technicals and you can’t get thrown out of big games on the road,” Karl said. “You can’t do that.”
Iguodala called the loss a learning experience.
“You can learn from every game,” he said. “You can learn if you don’t do the right things, if you don’t put the game out of reach like you’re supposed to, you can lose the game. Some things were out of our control, but we still have to learn to be mentally tough – including myself – to get through it and fight for a win.”
The Nuggets played the rest of the way without their leading scorer and hung tough.
But the Jazz were tougher.
After being outscored 48-18 in the paint at halftime thanks to a seemingly endless string of dunks and fast-break layups, the Nuggets had just 18 points in the paint the rest of the way.
The 6-10 Favors was huge down the stretch, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
His jam over JaVale McGee gave Utah a 91-89 lead, and Faried answered at the other end.
Another dunk by Favors put Utah ahead 97-93, but Faried and Lawson kept the Nuggets in it, with back-to-back baskets to tie it at 100.
Jefferson’s free throws gave Utah a 102-100 lead and Andre Miller‘s jumper tied it with 54 seconds left. But after a miss by Jefferson at the other end, Favors was there for the offensive rebound, and made both free throws after getting fouled.
Favors grabbed another rebound after Miller missed a 3-point attempt with 5.9 seconds left, and sank one of two from the line.
“He’s been doing that the whole year,” Foye said of the second-year pro’s physical play. “He’s a great talent. In a few years, he’s going to be one of the best power forwards in the league.”
Before the game, Karl said the one individual he feared was Foye, because of his 3-point shooting.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Foye and Marvin Williams capped Utah’s big run to tie it at 77.
But Foye’s big play was to tie up Iguodala on the next possession, and win the jump, leaving Iguodala complaining.
When McGee was called for a foul on Paul Millsap at the other end, Iguodala complained again and picked up his first technical. He received his second after Foye made the free throw, sending him out of the game for good.
Utah finished 25 of 34 at the line while the Nuggets made just 18 of 32.
Faried, who was 5 of 6 from the line but missed one down the stretch, called it extremely frustrating.
The Jazz were simply satisfied that they had done the expected – win at home. Better yet against a Northwest Division foe.
“It helps us out, but we still got to go on the road and prove we can beat teams on the road.” Favors said.
NOTES: The Jazz entered the game as one of only three teams undefeated at home, along with Miami and the New York Knicks. … The Nuggets shot 73 percent in the first half (27 of 37). … Jazz PG Mo Williams (sprained foot) expects to return for the Jazz road trip. … Jamaal Tinsley, who started in place of Mo Williams for the second straight game, contributed a season-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
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