Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 1/9

Game 1: Friday, January 9th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 20th
Game 3: Sunday, March 14th
Game 4: Saturday, March 27th

Jazz 96


Nuggets 106


    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, January 9, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 14 21 34 2796
    DEN 28 26 25 27106

    Top Performers

    Utah: G. Ostertag 15 Pts, 13 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Blk

    Denver: N. Hilario 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Utah unable to dig out of first-half hole

    DENVER (AP) -- The Utah Jazz shoved, tugged and even elbowed Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony in the throat.

    His response? Bring it on.

    Anthony shook off rough treatment for the second straight game, scoring 15 of his 27 points in the second half to help Denver Nuggets hold off the Utah Jazz 106-96 Friday night.

    "Everybody from the point guard to the big men were physical out there," Anthony said. "That just boosts my energy up and makes me want to play even more physical."

    It worked.

    Anthony scored 20 points in a physical game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, and he was even better against the Jazz.

    The rough play started in the second quarter, when Jarron Collins fouled Anthony hard and gave him an extra shove after the play. Raja Bell took over in the third quarter, fighting him for position just about every trip down.

    The two players had to be separated midway through the quarter after fighting for post position, then Bell elbowed Anthony in the throat while going after a rebound in the closing seconds.

    "Everybody is going to take hits on him," said Denver's Andre Miller, who had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds. "He just has to be ready for it."

    He was, particularly down the stretch.

    Utah shot just 26 percent and trailed by 19 points at halftime, but opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 58-46. The Jazz made 14 of 18 shots in the quarter, then cut Denver's lead to 89-83 on Raul Lopez's 3-pointer from the corner with six minutes left.

    DeShawn Stevenson followed by hitting one of two free throws, but that was as close as the Jazz got.

    Nene, who scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting, followed with a left-handed shot in the lane, then Anthony converted a three-point play after he was fouled by Raja Bell on a layup. Anthony brought the crowd to its feet the next trip down, going way up for a one-handed, alley-oop dunk over Lopez that put the Nuggets up 96-84 with 4{ minutes left.

    "Carmelo is a very good player, and we obviously didn't come out and help as much as we should," said Utah assistant coach Phil Johnson, who replaced Jerry Sloan for the second straight game.

    But the Nuggets might not have been there if not for hardworking Marcus Camby.

    He was 4-for-10 from the floor, but had the kind of line that looked more like something that would come from Utah's Andrei Kirilenko: 8 points, 11 rebounds, eight blocks, five steals and five assists.

    That made him just the fourth player in the past decade -- Kirilenko did it twice this season -- with at least five in five categories.

    "Marcus was just outstanding," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said.

    The Jazz were without leading scorer Matt Harpring for the third straight game due to a sore knee, and Sloan was home with his wife, Bobbye, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this week.

    The Jazz also hadn't played since a 108-94 home win over Dallas on Monday because Wednesday's game against Memphis was postponed due to bad weather in Portland, Ore.

    The long week seemed to affect the Jazz in the early going.

    Utah missed seven of its first eight shots and finished the first quarter with just 14 points on 6-of-24 shooting. Many of the shots weren't close.

    Stevenson had a shot that nearly wedged between the rim and the backboard, Kirilenko missed the rim entirely on a 3-pointer and Greg Ostertag rolled one off from a foot away.

    "We came out and walked around offensively and didn't help each other defensively in the first half," Johnson said. "It was like a bunch of deer in the headlights. It was ridiculous."

    The Nuggets took advantage, turning the first quarter into a highlight reel of dunks, blocks and nifty passes.

    The best of the bunch came midway through, when Anthony drove the lane and passed to Camby, who sent a quick shovel pass to Nene down the lane for a dunk.

    The breakdowns led to a tirade by Ostertag on the bench.

    "I was just trying to light a fire in everybody, and it started with me," said Ostertag, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds. "I should have done what I did, but gone about it in a different way."

    Game notes

    The introductions were done in Spanish to celebrate Spanish heritage night. ... A fan behind Denver's bench told Nuggets G Voshon Lenard to take the ball to the basket early in the game. Lenard responded by scowling at the fan and telling him to shut up. ... Stevenson and Camby were called for taunting technicals after dunks in the third quarter. ... Sloan is expected back for Saturday's home game against Atlanta.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 106
    FGM-FGA 34-83 (.410) 41-78 (.526)
    3PM-3PA 4-9 (.444) 0-4 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 24-31 (.774) 24-32 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 21-46 12-39
    Assists 27 28
    Turnovers 18 16
    Steals 10 12
    Blocks 7 11
    Fast Break Points 6 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (3/0) 24 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Greg Ostertag Ostertag
    Points: 15
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4
    Nene Hilario Hilario
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0