SALT LAKE CITY -- The Nuggets sang a siren song and, sure enough, the Jazz wound up with their five-game winning streak dashed to pieces.
Scrapping and clawing toward the playoffs, Utah suffered a potentially devastating loss Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena, falling 113-96 to a Denver team without its leading scorer.
The Jazz (39-37) slipped a 1/2 game behind the idle Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff standings.
Utah came into the game feeling confident in the wake of a five-game winning streak, but the Jazz fell victim to the Nuggets knack for lulling their opponents into an up-tempo battle.
More specifically, playing up-tempo and settling for too many outside shots.
"That's exactly what happened," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "We got caught up in playing their game. They're the best at that type of game."
Denver (51-24) remains the No. 3 team in the West and the second place team in the Northwest Division, even without the speedy Lawson, who missed another game with a foot injury.
Veteran point guard Andre Miller did a nice job of directing the offense in Lawson's absence. He scored 13 points and dished six assists as the Nuggets spanked the Jazz in the second half.
They outscored Utah 58-40 in the paint and racked up 19 points off the fast break.
The Nuggets led by as many as 21 after halftime.
Denver's Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points and teammate Kenneth Faried added 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Backup point guard Evan Fournier played 25 minutes off the bench, scoring 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Gordon Hayward scored 18 for the Jazz. Jefferson added 16 points and nine rebounds.
As a team, the Jazz shot 46 percent from the field, which included a 6-for-18 effort in the third quarter. They kept the game close throughout the first half, but couldn't keep up after going nearly five minutes without a field goal to start the third quarter.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he talked to his players about how the Nuggets like to play and their ability to entice their opponents into playing a transition game.
Still, Corbin's guys got caught up in the lure.
"They attack the basket off the dribble," Corbin said. "It's not a post-up team, it's a driving team. I thought for the most part of the game, they got what they wanted, blowing by guys and getting in the lane."
Those blow-by baskets were the direct result of Utah's missed jumpshots.
But considering how confident they were riding the five-game streak, the Jazz were somewhat susceptible to Denver's trap.
Guards Randy Foye and Mo Williams sizzled from the outside in their two previous games, combining to hit 19-for-25 from behind the 3-point line in their previous two games.
On Wednesday, Foye and Williams combined to go 2-for-11 behind the line.
As a team, Utah was 6-for-20 behind the line, which isn't a terrible percentage, but it belies Denver's ability to temp it opponents.
Those missed outside shots quickly turned into transition points for the Nuggets, who outrebounded the Jazz 42-33.
"They just do a good job," Foye said. "You watch film on them, it seems like they're not playing defense or they're just letting guys run through and switching everything. But they do a good job of mucking everything up. They got us out of sync and we took a lot of jumpshots."
The Jazz play host to New Orleans on Friday.