Utah’s Alec Burks (10) drives to the basket in front of Denver Nuggets’ J.J. Hickson during the first quarter Monday in Salt Lake city.
Utah's Alec Burks (10) drives to the basket in front of Denver Nuggets' J.J. Hickson during the first quarter Monday in Salt Lake city. (Rick Bowmer / AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — — The new-and-improved Nuggets reverted back to a more wicked, witchlike version of themselves Monday night — and had to swallow the hideous results.

The Utah Jazz scored nearly at will on the Nuggets, who, for the first time in a week, didn't have the energy or precision they played with during what was a five-game winning streak. That's done now, thanks to a 118-103 loss to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah was led by former University of Colorado star Alec Burks, who poured in a career-high 34 points.

Defense, which has been a constant during the win streak, was a problem against the Jazz. A lot of the old problems cropped back up into this one — second-chance points allowed by the bushel, free-throw shooting was again a problem, the 3-point line turned against them and the rebounding edge went to the home team.

The breakdowns were so thorough, the game could almost be summarily dismissed as "one of those nights." In fact, that's what it looked like.

Both teams were depleted because of injuries, but it could be argued that Utah took the bigger hit playing without its leading scorer, Gordon Hayward. But the Jazz sure didn't seem to need him. Burks and his teammates had more than enough firepower to cover that production.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets lost the game early when the second unit could not keep the Jazz under control. Denver missed Darrell Arthur's presence on both ends of the court, and Wilson Chandler, who returned from a hip injury, could not find the range in a role off the bench until the third quarter.


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Defense was a struggle for the Nuggets in the first half. Utah generally got whatever it wanted. Derrick Favors worked the paint, Burks both inside and out, and rookie guard Trey Burke was effective despite a sprained right ankle that required a retaping in the first half.

The Jazz nailed 51 percent of its shots on the way to 67 points in the first half, a season high for points allowed by the Nuggets this season.

And again, the Jazz didn't have Hayward.

It was that kind of night.

There were interesting individual Denver performances within the team's loss. Quincy Miller started his third consecutive game and began on fire, scoring seven of the Nuggets' first 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting. J.J. Hickson turned in one of his most productive performances of the season, going for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Also, Ty Lawson got himself back in double-double land with 23 points and 11 assists.

Burks, the former CU star, led all scorers with a career-high 34 points.

JAZZ 118, NUGGETS 103,

DENVER

Q.Miller 3-7 0-0 7, Faried 5-7 1-4 11, Hickson 8-9 5-6 21, Lawson 6-18 11-15 23, Foye 4-8 1-2 10, Fournier 6-15 1-3 16, Mozgov 0-3 0-0 0, Chandler 4-10 2-3 12, Robinson 1-7 1-2 3. Totals 37-84 22-35 103.

UTAH

Jefferson 5-9 3-4 16, Williams 3-6 0-0 7, Favors 7-12 5-9 19, Burke 6-12 3-4 18, Burks 13-19 8-8 34, Rush 3-3 0-0 7, Kanter 5-10 1-2 11, Garrett 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 2-4 2-2 6, Lucas III 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 44-79 22-29 118.

Denver

31

22

24

26

103

Utah

35

32

26

25

118

3-Point Goals — Denver 7-26 (Fournier 3-7, Chandler 2-5, Foye 1-3, Q.Miller 1-4, Mozgov 0-1, Robinson 0-3, Lawson 0-3), Utah 8-18 (Burke 3-4, Jefferson 3-6, Rush 1-1, Williams 1-4, Burks 0-1, Lucas III 0-2). Fouled Out — Foye. Rebounds — Denver 52 (Hickson 10), Utah 50 (Favors 15). Assists — Denver 16 (Lawson 11), Utah 22 (Burke 8). Total Fouls — Denver 22, Utah 24. A — 17,232 (19,911).