UTA
DEN

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Harris scores 20, Nuggets rally in 4th and beat Jazz 103-88

DENVER (AP) Mason Plumlee watched as his 3-pointer swished through the net, and the big man started to shimmy down the court as the Denver bench erupted in celebration.

No one expected Plumlee to drain one from beyond the arc, but the Nuggets are doing a lot of things nobody expected this season.

Gary Harris scored 20 points and Malik Beasley and Plumlee hit key 3-pointers in a fourth-quarter flurry, leading Denver to a 103-88 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

The Nuggets outscored the Jazz 35-15 in the fourth thanks to a gritty defense and Plumlee's first 3-pointer. He had only taken 18 shots from beyond the arc in his five-year career, including one this season. But this time, he drained one in front of his own bench during an 18-0 run.

''It was the end of the shot clock and we had to get it up so I took it,'' Plumlee said. ''It's funny how it started a run. They took a timeout so I could have more time to have fun.''

Jamal Murray scored 19 for Denver, which won its fourth straight and has won eight of nine games so far.

The Nuggets' great start is due, in part, to an improved defense that is allowing just 101.9 points a game, almost seven fewer than last season. It's a pace they want to continue throughout the season.

''We're 8-1 and we have one of the best defenses in the NBA, so why not?'' coach Michael Malone said. ''That's our challenge. Let's not get soft with success.''

Jae Crowder scored 21 points off the bench for Utah, which has lost three straight.

The Jazz got a scare when guard Donovan Mitchell left the game in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury. Mitchell, who finished with 16 points, missed Friday night's loss to Memphis with a right hamstring injury. He was helped off favoring his left leg, but returned a few minutes later.

''I was just being a baby,'' Mitchell said. ''I'm good. I've twisted an ankle before. It's not a great feeling. I don't tape my ankles, so I'll probably start.''

Denver's Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double, but finished three points shy of the mark. He had a season-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds. He finished with seven points and has scored just 11 in the last two games combined, but Denver has won both.

The Jazz led 77-71 early in the fourth quarter but went cold as Denver took control. Beasley's 3-pointer gave the Nuggets a 79-77 lead and Plumlee beat the shot clock with another 3 that increased the lead to five.

Utah missed seven straight shots during a 24-3 run by Denver that turned a six-point deficit into a 95-80 lead. Denver held the Jazz to four made field goals in the fourth.

''A lot of effort, man,'' Plumlee said of the defense. ''Schematically we're not doing anything different but the multiple effort's there.''

The Jazz shot 40.7 from the field and just 19.4 percent from 3-point range.

''The score didn't reflect our effort,'' Utah coach Quin Snyder said. ''But ultimately you've got to put the ball in the basket. We weren't able to do that in the fourth quarter.''

TIP-INS

Jazz: G Alec Burks missed his third straight game with a chip fracture in his left hand. He has not played in the last four games. ... Favors played 19 minutes despite dealing with left knee soreness. He finished with 12 points.

Nuggets: Denver started the 1976-77 season 8-0, the first season it was in the NBA. ... The Nuggets have held four of their opponents to below 100 points. They've won all four games.

HOME SWEET HOME

Denver won 31 games at Pepsi Center last season and is 5-0 at home to start this year. It's a big difference from four seasons ago when the Nuggets finished below 19-22 in Denver.

''I remember getting booed off the court. Nobody was there and tonight it was a sellout,'' Harris said. ''It shows you how far we've come but we still have a long way to go.''

UP NEXT

Jazz: Host the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

Nuggets: Host the Boston Celtics on Monday.

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Key Players
R. Gobert
27 C
N. Jokic
15 C
29.6 Min. Per Game 29.6
19.4 Pts. Per Game 19.4
6.6 Ast. Per Game 6.6
10.0 Reb. Per Game 10.0
71.8 Field Goal % 51.9
73.9 Three Point % 52.0
60.7 Free Throw % 84.8
+ 2 DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell made reverse layup, assist by Monte Morris 0:07
+ 2 Dante Exum made finger-roll layup 0:31
  Offensive foul on Juancho Hernangomez 0:42
+ 2 Ekpe Udoh made floating jump shot, assist by Dante Exum 1:02
  Offensive rebound by Georges Niang 1:14
  Grayson Allen missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:17
  Defensive rebound by Royce O'Neale 1:36
  Monte Morris missed driving layup, blocked by Ekpe Udoh 1:38
+ 1 Dante Exum made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:57
+ 1 Dante Exum made 1st of 2 free throws 1:57
  Personal foul on Jamal Murray 1:57
Team Stats
Points 88 103
Field Goals 33-81 (40.7%) 41-83 (49.4%)
3-Pointers 6-31 (19.4%) 9-28 (32.1%)
Free Throws 16-24 (66.7%) 12-19 (63.2%)
Total Rebounds 46 59
Offensive 10 8
Defensive 30 40
Team 6 11
Assists 22 32
Steals 12 8
Blocks 7 0
Turnovers 12 17
Fouls 21 26
Technicals 2 0
16 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST
7 PTS, 10 REB, 16 AST
1234T
away team logo Jazz 4-5 2521271588
home team logo Nuggets 8-1 25222135103
Team Stats
away team logo Jazz 4-5 97.8 PPG 47.2 RPG 23.0 APG
home team logo Nuggets 8-1 109.1 PPG 47.7 RPG 24.0 APG
Key Players
J. Crowder PF 11.4 PPG 5.8 RPG 0.8 APG 37.0 FG%
G. Harris SG 14.2 PPG 4.1 RPG 2.3 APG 46.2 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Crowder PF 21 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
G. Harris SG 20 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
40.7 FG% 49.4
19.4 3PT FG% 32.1
66.7 FT% 63.2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Mitchell 16 5 2 7/22 0/7 2/2 2 32 5 0 0 0 5 -12 30
D. Favors 12 5 1 6/10 0/1 0/1 1 18 0 1 0 3 2 -10 20
R. Gobert 12 12 1 5/9 0/0 2/8 4 35 0 1 2 5 7 -13 25
R. Rubio 11 4 6 3/10 1/4 4/4 3 32 4 0 6 0 4 -14 25
J. Ingles 4 4 6 1/5 1/4 1/2 3 32 2 0 1 0 4 -20 21
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Mitchell 16 5 2 7/22 0/7 2/2 2 32 5 0 0 0 5 -12 30
D. Favors 12 5 1 6/10 0/1 0/1 1 18 0 1 0 3 2 -10 20
R. Gobert 12 12 1 5/9 0/0 2/8 4 35 0 1 2 5 7 -13 25
R. Rubio 11 4 6 3/10 1/4 4/4 3 32 4 0 6 0 4 -14 25
J. Ingles 4 4 6 1/5 1/4 1/2 3 32 2 0 1 0 4 -20 21
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Crowder 21 5 1 8/15 4/9 1/1 1 31 1 3 3 1 4 -4 29
D. Exum 6 1 1 1/3 0/2 4/4 1 17 0 0 0 0 1 +2 9
R. O'Neale 4 3 4 1/2 0/0 2/2 2 23 0 0 0 0 3 -5 15
E. Udoh 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 +2 4
T. Sefolosha 0 0 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 -3 0
G. Niang 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 2 4 0 0 0 1 0 -2 1
G. Allen 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 +4 0
A. Burks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Mitrou-Long - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Cavanaugh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Neto - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Bradley - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 88 40 22 33/81 6/31 16/24 21 234 12 7 12 10 30 -75 179
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
G. Harris 20 4 1 8/13 1/4 3/5 3 31 0 0 3 0 4 +1 23
J. Murray 19 5 4 7/16 1/3 4/4 3 35 0 0 2 0 5 +18 30
P. Millsap 13 5 2 6/10 1/3 0/1 2 23 3 0 2 1 4 -5 23
N. Jokic 7 10 16 3/9 0/3 1/2 2 28 1 0 4 3 7 +8 46
T. Craig 4 6 0 2/5 0/2 0/0 1 21 2 0 1 1 5 -6 11
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
G. Harris 20 4 1 8/13 1/4 3/5 3 31 0 0 3 0 4 +1 23
J. Murray 19 5 4 7/16 1/3 4/4 3 35 0 0 2 0 5 +18 30
P. Millsap 13 5 2 6/10 1/3 0/1 2 23 3 0 2 1 4 -5 23
N. Jokic 7 10 16 3/9 0/3 1/2 2 28 1 0 4 3 7 +8 46
T. Craig 4 6 0 2/5 0/2 0/0 1 21 2 0 1 1 5 -6 11
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
M. Beasley 12 0 2 4/8 3/5 1/1 3 18 0 0 1 0 0 +20 15
T. Lyles 8 6 3 3/8 0/3 2/2 4 20 0 0 1 0 6 +16 19
J. Hernangomez 8 4 1 3/5 1/2 1/2 3 28 1 0 1 2 2 +19 14
M. Plumlee 7 6 1 3/5 1/1 0/2 4 17 1 0 2 1 5 +9 14
M. Morris 3 2 2 1/3 1/2 0/0 1 12 0 0 0 0 2 -1 9
D. Akoon-Purcell 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 2
T. Lydon 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
I. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Barton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Welsh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Vanderbilt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Porter Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 103 48 32 41/83 9/28 12/19 26 235 8 0 17 8 40 +75 206