SALT LAKE CITY — Point guard Ty Lawson hit a go-ahead jumper and forward Darrell Arthur nailed two clutch free throws to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 103-101 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Lawson finished with 15 points and 12 assists as the Nuggets improved to 9-8 with their eighth victory in 10 games.
Denver led by as many as 22 points in the first half, but this game went down to the wire thanks to a big second-half comeback by the Jazz.
Lawson hit a tricky off-balance jumper with 29.6 seconds remaining to give the Nuggets the lead for good. His tough shot splashed through the net after the shot clock expired to put Denver ahead 101-99.
The Jazz had a couple of chances to tie or take a lead in the final moments, but small forward Gordon Hayward had a driving shot blocked by Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov, and point guard Trey Burke’s long 3-point attempt was off.
Arthur clinched the victory for the Nuggets with two free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining.
Hayward scored 25 points with five rebounds, and shooting guard Alec Burks contributed 22 points, including a meaningless dunk at the buzzer, but the Jazz dropped their sixth consecutive game.
Utah (5-13) played without starting center Derrick Favors, the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder. The loss dropped the Jazz to 0-10 without Favors on the court in the past two seasons.
Burke scored 10 points and Burks added eight in the third quarter as the Jazz outscored the Nuggets by 13 points to enter the fourth down just six. Burke’s 3-pointer with 1:50 tied the game, and the teams went back and forth after that.
Things got heated midway through the fourth quarter after Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo leveled Burks on a layup attempt.
Burks crashed to the court in pain, and players exchanged words before order was quickly restored.
Afflalo was ejected from the game with a Penalty-2 flagrant foul. The Jazz were also assessed a technical foul because trainer Gary Briggs came on the court to help Burks without having a timeout called.
The Jazz only gained a one-point advantage from that exchange. Utah trailed 91-88 after Lawson hit his technical free throw and Burks nailed both of his foul shots but missed a jumper.
Denver used a 36-20 second quarter to build a commanding 22-point lead in the first half.
Burke finished the game with 18 points and eight assists and center Enes Kanter scored 17 points with 15 rebounds for the Jazz.
Seven Nuggets finished with double figures in scoring.
NOTES: The Nuggets gave up an average of 111.1 points per game while starting 1-6, but held opponents to just 101.1 points while winning seven of nine entering Monday’s game. Coach Brian Shaw told reporters before the Denver-Utah game that he set a goal for his team to hold foes to 24 or fewer points per quarter. … Former Jazz guard Randy Foye did not dress for the Nuggets because of a quad strain. … Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he’ll stop practice on occasion if players are even just a bit out of position. “Those inches and instincts make a difference,” he said.
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