SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Alec Burks scored a career-high 34 points to spark the Utah Jazz to a 118-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Derrick Favors added 19 points and 15 rebounds while Trey Burke had 18 points for the Jazz, who won their fifth game in the last six home starts.
Burks was filling in for Gordon Hayward, who sat out his second consecutive game after scoring a career-high 37 points — including the last 17 — in a win over Oklahoma City last Tuesday. The swingman strained his left hip flexor late in the game and his absence was apparent as Cleveland snapped Utah’s four-game home winning streak on Friday, 113-102.
But Burks made his presence felt from the start and had 17 in the first half to help the Jazz run out to a 67-53 lead, the highest first-half total for the Jazz this season.
Ty Lawson had 23 points and J.J. Hickson scored 21 but the Nuggets trailed by as many as 24 points as they saw their improbable five-game winning streak come to an end.
Burks wowed the crowd with a number of acrobatic drives to the hoop and several his forays ended in a basket and a free throw. The Nuggets threw a number of defenders at the slippery Jazz guard but none could stay in front of him.
It was Burks’ most potent offensive performance since he posted his previous career-best of 31 points in Miami on Dec. 16. But that was in a blowout loss.
Burks made 13 of his 19 field goal attempts to help the Jazz shoot nearly 56 percent against the Nuggets, who seemed to be one step behind the Utah offense all night.
Favors’ powerful dunk sparked a 10-2 surge to push the advantage to 77-57, the second time in three games the Jazz have led by more than 20 after achieving that wide margin only once the rest of the season.
The lead reached 24 points at 89-65 after Richard Jefferson made a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. The 118 points Utah tallied was the second-most the Jazz have scored all season, just under the 122 they scored in a 122-101 win in Sacramento on Dec. 11.
The Nuggets got a taste of their own medicine after they averaged 119.6 points a contest in their five-game win streak. But the energy and defense and accuracy that aided the Nuggets’ roll were absent against Utah.
The Nuggets were 21 of 34 from the line and several misses prevented them from cutting the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter.
In addition to long-term injuries to Danilo Gallinari (left knee) and JaVale McGee (left leg), the Nuggets were without reserve forwards Darrell Arthur (left groin) and Anthony Randolph (left ankle).
Fellow reserve Wilson Chandler has been battling a left hip strain and missed Denver’s previous two games but scored 12 points in his return.
Hayward, who leads Utah in scoring at 17.1 points per game, is day to day and planned to accompany the team on its upcoming three-game road trip starting Wednesday in San Antonio.
Notes: Marvin Williams, who was hampered by flu-like symptoms, played his first full game without the facemask he’s been wearing since he broke his nose in November. … University of Utah All-America guard Andre Miller is on leave from the Nuggets after yelling at coach Brian Shaw on Jan. 1. … The win marked Utah coach Ty Corbin’s 100th career win (100-115 in his fifth season).
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