Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:23 PM
SALT LAKE CITY – Just eight games into what team executives have deemed to be a critically important rebuilding season, the Utah Jazz are searching for hope … relief … words … a victory.
Now off to the franchise’s worst start since moving to Utah in 1979, the Jazz lost again Monday, this time falling to the Denver Nuggets 100-81 at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah (0-8) remains the NBA’s only winless team.
Coach Tyrone Corbin offered up a long, painful pause when asked to explain what happened in the fourth quarter, when the Jazz were outscored 30-13.
“Couldn’t make a shot,” he said. “Mistakes … turnovers … I thought the guys were playing hard they just made critical mistakes in the fourth quarter, give up 30 points. At the end of it they scored some baskets but we only scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. Tough to overcome.”
The main storyline from the game itself was simple: Utah seemed to be on its way to its first win of the season but once again failed to finish the fourth quarter with confidence.
The Jazz led 73-72 with 10:18 left in the game. Seconds later the Nuggets (2-4) went on a decisive 10-1 run and soon build their lead to 92-79 with 2:55 left to play.
Prior to Monday’s game Utah’s lowest fourth-quarter output was 17 points in a blowout loss at Chicago on Nov. 8. But against the Nuggets, the Jazz managed only 13 points on 4-for-18 shooting, 0-for-5 from behind the 3-point line. Denver, meanwhile, shot 10-for-21 from the field, 1-of-2 behind the arc.
Corbin said he felt his young players lost focus only briefly but it was enough to allow Denver accelerate through the final quarter.
“Learning on the fly is difficult,” he said. “The young guys, you tell them and you tell them but they have to go through it.”
Though his frustration was evident, Corbin was earnest in his effort to keep calm and lead on.
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” he said.
The Jazz got 22 points from Gordon Hayward and a season-high 21 from Derrick Favors, who also had 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Center Enes Kanter added 12 points.
Denver’s Ty Lawson had 17 points, 10 assists and six rebounds and teammate Kenneth Faried had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Former University of Utah standout Andre Miller, now 37, gave the Nuggets 15 points in 26 minutes off the bench. Nine of his points came during the fourth quarter.
Whereas Miller saved his best for last, the Jazz went in the opposite direction.
Hayward had 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the first half but was just 1-for-5 with four points after halftime.
Utah’s leader on the floor, Hayward, 23, didn’t shy away from hard questions in the postgame locker room. Like his coach, his frustration was evident through he tried to remain hopeful.
But he, too, offered up a few long pauses.
“It’s happened to us the past five or six games,” he said. “We’ve been right there and then all of a sudden we have these spurts where we just kind of fall asleep as a team and (the opponents) turn it into a 10- or 15-point run. That happens in this league. It’s unfortunate.”
Contact reporter Jim Burton at 801-625-4265, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo.
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