Nuggets can’t kick turnover habit, fall hard in Utah

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The Denver Nuggets fell 106-77 to the Utah Jazz Tuesday night in much of the same fashion that they lost their regular-season opener in Salt Lake City to start the year.

In their 10-point loss back on Oct. 18, the Nuggets committed 21 turnovers, 13 of which came in the second half. Denver blew a 15-point third-quarter lead and much of the blame fell on Denver's inability to hold onto the ball.

Tonight, Denver committed 18 turnovers, leading to 28 Utah points. The Nuggets' starting backcourt of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris combined for five giveaways. Emmanuel Mudiay turned the ball over five times in 19 minutes. This time Denver turned the ball over nine times in the first half and nine times in the second.

The Nuggets used a strong first two quarters from Gary Harris, who led Denver with 14 points at the break to edge the Jazz by one as the two teams went to their respective locker rooms. But Utah blitzed Denver with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter.

Nikola Jokic, who's stepped up his game in Paul Millsap's absence, was a non-factor in tonight's second half. Jokic scored seven points on 3-6 shooting — five of which came over the first two quarters — and grabbed six rebounds. He also finished with six assists in just 26 minutes.

The Jazz outscored the Nuggets 28-17 in the third and at one point in the middle of the fourth quarter ran up a 46-21 second-half advantage. Nuggets' coach Michael Malone waved the white flag with a little over six minutes remaining and his team trailing by 24 by inserting two-way player Torrey Craig.

Turnovers, which have plagued the Nuggets all season rose to the surface again in Utah. Denver came into tonight's matchup averaging 16.6 giveaways per game — the third-most in the league. On the season, the Nuggets were also allowing opponents to score a league-high 20.9 points per game off turnovers.

The Nuggets are 0-6 in Utah under Malone and haven't won in Salt Lake City since Nov. 1, 2014. They've also been a different team on the road than at the friendly confines of Pepsi Center this year.

Denver is 8-2 at home and just 3-7 on the road.

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