EMPTYING THE NOGGIN—Burks’ brilliance buries Denver

  •  Alec Burks carried the Jazz to a dominant win over the Nuggets. The Jazz led by 10 or more points for the final 29 minutes of the game. The Nuggets made surges but never a run. Alec Burks made plays to change the tide back in Utah’s favor.
  • Burks had a career-high 34 points. He realized Denver had no shot blockers and he took the ball to the basket with regularity. Of his 13 field goals, only two of them were from outside the paint and only one other was from more than a foot outside the restricted area. He was a driving and finishing machine.
  • The Jazz’s offense was great all night. They scored 35 points in the first quarter, they had a season high 67 in the first half and they kept rolling. They were getting in the paint from the left wing, and the defense of the Nuggets was collapsing without any rotations and the Jazz were making the extra pass.
  • Richard Jefferson’s presence in the corners is altering defenses. Teams can’t leave him.
  • Utah had just four turnovers through three quarters, and then the Nuggets started trapping and the Jazz started to struggle with the ball. It was the only time all night when the Jazz clearly missed Gordon Hayward.
  • The Jazz had 64 points in the paint on 32-for-46 shooting.
  • The Nuggets came into the game as one of the hottest 3-point shooting teams in the NBA. They had made 12 per game over their five-game win streak. Tonight they were just 7-for-25.
  • Derrick Favors put out one of my favorite performances of his young career.  He was a beast inside and physically dominated the undersized Nuggets. His 14 defensive rebounds is a new career high, plus he had 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting. He got the ball in the post and acted quickly, using his size to overpower the defenders—he manhandled Faried and Hickson.
  • This is a good matchup for the Jazz, which has shown up each time the teams have played. Jeremy Evans can use his athletic ability rather than getting caught in a wrestling match, and he was very impactful in the second quarter.
  • Enes Kanter continues to make huge strides defensively. He had good defensive rotations again tonight, and offensively he made plays.
  • Marvin once again showed great veteran leadership, gaming it through his illness to be the model for this young team.
  • Brandon Rush looked better tonight than he has all season and made some athletic plays.
  • Trey Burke struggled in the fourth quarter tonight with the Nuggets’ defensive pressure, but when the night was over he had 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting and eight assists. Coach Lowe singled out the picks Trey set in the first half to help ignite the offense.
  • Solid win over a hot team. Without Gordon Hayward the Jazz stepped up and played great team basketball, and that opened the door for Alec to have an enormous individual night.