George Hill, Utah Jazz Come Back Strong Against Denver Nuggets
With George Hill making his return to the lineup, the Utah Jazz got back to their winning ways at home against the Denver Nuggets.
The Utah Jazz were back in action on Wednesday in a Pre-Thanksgiving showdown with the Denver Nuggets. Despite entering the game with four straight losses, including one to the Nuggets over the weekend, the Jazz were able to give the crowd at Vivint Arena plenty to be thankful for with a dominating 108-83 win.
More than anything, it was the return of starting point guard George Hill that has Jazz Nation feeling happy heading into the holiday. After an eight-game absence, Hill was back in action and picked up where he left off as a Western Conference Player of the Week.
In an effort that was right in line with his previous performances, Hill scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting (with three three-pointers), grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists and had two steals.
— NBA (@NBA) November 24, 2016
However, Utah’s win was anything but a one-man effort.
In the first quarter, everyone Coach Quin Snyder ran out there was on point. After Hill assisted Gordon Hayward for big three just after tip-off, the Jazz went on to score the game’s first 14 points. As a team, they made eight of their first nine shots from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three, to build the big lead.
Although they stopped playing defense toward the end of the period, the Jazz led 36-27 after one. It was their best shooting quarter of the season as they hit on 67 percent overall and 60 percent from three-point range.
Led by Boris Diaw, Utah built their lead early in the second quarter; the big man was able to eclipse his previous season high well before halftime. However, a 12-0 run by Denver in the middle of the quarter cut the lead to two before Hayward found Rudy Gobert for a dunk to stop the bleeding.
It was a total breakdown on both sides of the ball. With three minutes left in the quarter, the Nuggets even managed to level the score at 45. The Jazz ultimately recovered to enter halftime with a 53-47 lead, but the Nuggets undoubtedly won the quarter.
During the break, Snyder asked his team to lose the lapses and focus for a full 24 minutes. Without question, they responded. From the waning moments of the second period through the mid-quarter timeout in the third, the Jazz put together a 25-5 run as Denver missed their first seven shots of the second half.
It was a push that the Nuggets couldn’t recover from. The Jazz led 84-61 after three and thanks to a strong defensive performance and some more hot shooting, they never looked back. Despite the best efforts of Jamal Murray, who torched Utah for 23 points off the bench and hit five threes, the Jazz were never challenged in the final carom.
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The Jazz band was led by Hill and Hayward, who matched his point guard with 22 points and added seven assists and five rebounds. Rudy Gobert scored 19 points, had 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Meanwhile, Rodney Hood scored 16 points of his own and Diaw ended up with an 11-point night. Only Murray and Wilson Chandler managed to hit double figures for Denver.
With the victory, the Jazz evened their record at 8-8. Next up is the Atlanta Hawks with Dwight Howard and former Jazzmen Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver.