National Basketball Association
Preview
Utah at Denver
When: 9:00 PM ET, Friday, March 27, 2015
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

The Utah Jazz are playing out the string but are also developing an identity for the future by turning into a defensive force. The Jazz will try to enforce their style on Friday when they visit the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are losers of four of their last five and let a lead slip away on Wednesday while being outscored 27-9 in the fourth quarter of a 99-85 home loss to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.

Utah is coming off a 92-89 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and has cooled off with three straight setbacks since a 16-4 run had it looking like one of the more dangerous teams in the league. The Jazz were without a pair of starters in Gordon Hayward (collarbone) and Rodney Hood (illness) against the Trail Blazers and both are questionable for Friday. Denver had been humming along on the offensive end under interim coach Melvin Hunt but was held to 91 or fewer points for the third time in five games in the loss to the 76ers.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ROOT (Utah), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE JAZZ (31-40): Utah went 12 straight games without allowing a team to score more than 91 points before letting three straight teams past that number in the last three games. The Jazz looked like they had the defense back in gear on Wednesday before surrendering 37 fourth-quarter points in the loss to the Trail Blazers. “I think we have to treat this as a learning experience," Utah forward Trevor Booker told the Salt Lake Tribune. "We didn't protect the lead tonight, and this is something that we have to learn how to do consistently."

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (27-45): One of the first things Hunt did after taking over from the dismissed Brian Shaw was turn up the pace on offense, and Denver responded by going for 100 points or more in eight straight games before the current slump. “Usually we play at a different pace," Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari told the Denver Post after the loss to the 76ers. “We've got to be able to do that, so hopefully we do that next game.” Gallinari scored a career-high 40 points in a win over Orlando on Sunday but slumped to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting on Wednesday before leaving with a shoulder injury.

BUZZER BEATERS


1. Nuggets F Darrell Arthur (calf) sat out Wednesday and is day-to-day.

2. Jazz F Derrick Favors has posted three straight double-doubles.

3. The road team has taken each of the first two meetings this season, with Utah claiming a 104-82 triumph in Denver on Feb. 27.

PREDICTION:
Jazz 91, Nuggets 86
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Utah 31-40 L3 17-19 14-21 0-2 31-38 5-6 16-25
Denver 27-45 L1 16-20 11-25 1-5 26-40 5-8 16-26
Last Meeting
Utah Denver
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/27/15 UTA 104 DEN 82 104 43 57.4 82 36 33.3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Utah D. Favors 21 70.0 7
Denver W. Barton 22 53.3 5
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Utah D. Favors 10 3 7
Denver W. Chandler 8 4 4
Assists Player  
Utah G. Hayward 5
Denver T. Lawson 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Utah G. Hayward 1449 45.6 368
Denver T. Lawson 1086 43.8 259
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Utah R. Gobert 710 233 477
Denver K. Faried 609 208 401
Assists Player  
Utah T. Burke 347
Denver T. Lawson 685
Quickchart Matchup
Utah Off vs  Denver Defense
94.7 Points For
103.8 Points Against
44.8 FG%
45.3 FG%
43.7 Reb
45.3 Reb
Denver Off vs  Utah Defense
100.2 Points For
95.0 Points Against
43.0 FG%
44.6 FG%
45.3 Reb
39.2 Reb