Jazz-Nuggets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 15, 2012
Despite opening the season without the faces of their respective franchises, neither the Denver Nuggets nor the Utah Jazz considered themselves to be rebuilding. So far, both have been proven right. The Northwest Division rivals will look to continue their surprising starts when they meet for the second time this season Sunday night in Denver. The Nuggets played well at the end of last season after trading Carmelo Anthony to New York and they have carried that over into 2011-12. Denver (8-4) has won six of eight including its last two games after defeating Miami 117-104 at home Friday. Ty Lawson returned after missing the previous game with a foot sprain and scored 24 points to go along with nine assists in the win over the Heat, while Nene finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Nuggets shot 55.1 percent overall and 12 of 25 from 3-point range as their up-tempo offense paid dividends. "My emphasis at every timeout was don't stop running," coach George Karl said. "Try to run every possession." That style has been very effective for the Nuggets, who lead the Western Conference with 104.8 points per game and have shot better than 55 percent in four of their last six contests. Lawson, who is averaging 17.1 points, is shooting 52.2 percent on the season and 60 percent over his last three games. "We're trying to stay under the radar," Lawson, who was 9 of 11 from the field Friday with both misses coming from 3-point range, told the Nuggets' official website. "We don't need all the press. We're just going to try to get in the playoffs and make a lot of noise." Denver has won six of its last seven home meetings with Utah, including a 117-100 victory Dec. 28, when Nene had 25 points. While Utah (7-4) also dealt a key player last season in Deron Williams, it is also playing well after a slow start. The Jazz have won six of seven, with the only loss coming in overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Jazz bounced back from that defeat Saturday with a 107-94 home victory over Williams and New Jersey. Al Jefferson scored 20 points and Paul Millsap added 18 with 12 boards and four steals. It was only the fourth time this season Utah, which is averaging 93.6 points, scored at least 100. "We want to make sure we push (the offense) early," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "It allows us to get into our offensive sets a lot sooner. ... We're a team that is capable of running." While the Jazz scored a lot Saturday, defense drives their success. They are limiting opponents to 89.1 points per game this month. "It starts with defense," said Jefferson, who is averaging a team-high 18.8 points on the season and has three blocks in each of his last two games. "When you get turnovers, turnovers lead to fast breaks and to easy baskets and that gets our confidence up and opens up everything." Utah's defense could be in for a challenge Sunday. Denver has scored at least 103 points in each of the last 10 games in this series.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'


Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

Super Bowl 50 ticket prices are insane

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker