Paul Millsap scored 14 straight points for Utah in the critical fourth quarter to carry the Jazz to a 106-96 triumph over the Northwest Division rival Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Finishing with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Millsap’s devastating personal run in the final quarter gave Utah (8-4) their seventh win in eight contests.
The Jazz led 81-79 early in the fourth when their big power forward netted his own 6-0 run to stretch the lead and finished with 16 in the quarter to keep the Nuggets at bay.
“My team mates did a great job of finding me, of going to me. There was a mismatch and we tried to expose it,” Millsap told reporters.
“Our team is very unselfish and they find the guy with the mismatch. You get in a zone like that, you get hot and start feeling it, guys just start looking for you.”
Denver was coming off a big victory over the Miami Heat on Friday, and were involved with a close battle all game but were unable to keep pace down the stretch.
Nene and Danilo Gallinari each recorded 18 points in the loss for the Nuggets (8-5).
Gallinari also had the unenviable task of trying to guard Millsap.
“In my opinion they kind of disrespected him by putting (Gallinari) on him,” Utah’s Al Jefferson said. “He had an advantage and he got hot. He was in the zone tonight.”
Jefferson added 18 points and 12 rebounds while Gordon Hayward had 19 for Utah.
The win moved the Jazz into second place in the Northwest Division behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (11-2).