GORDON Hayward scored 32 points to lead the Utah Jazz past the slumping Denver Nuggets in a 105-98 victory in Salt Lake City on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).
Hayward went 9 for 18 from the field and sank all of his 11 free throws for the Jazz (12-9) who also saw the return of Rodney Hood from the injured list. Hood added 15 points, six rebounds and two steals.
It was a close game at halftime with Utah holding a slim 49-47 lead. Led by Hayward’s hot shooting, the Jazz outscored Denver, 33-16, in the third quarter.
Utah led by 23 points with nine minutes left in the game when Denver staged a late run behind consecutive triples from Will Barton to cut the deficit to 94-98 after a Kenneth Faried layup.
The Jazz rallied behind Hayward, Hood and Shelvin Mack who proved steady with their free throws to widen the gap.
Rudy Gobert had seven point and 11 rebounds. Trey Lyles scored 12 points off the bench while Dante Exum finished with 10 markers.
Will Barton and Tyson Chandler both scored 20 points for the Nuggets (7-13) who are in a three-game losing streak.