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Can the Nuggets Perservere in Utah?

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Last night’s game between the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz exemplified the good and the bad about playoff basketball at the professional level. With so much on the line, both teams put it all out, so when one comes up short, it hurts that much more.

Such is life for Denver this morning after the Nuggets dropped a heartbreaking 114-111 game that seemed theirs for the taking before the game started. The Jazz were without star players Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko, but Utah point guard Deron Williams and forward Carlos Boozer combined for 53 points and formed a duo the Nuggets couldn’t quiet all night (box score via NBA.com).

In fact, the Nuggets defense couldn’t really stop anyone all night, writes The Denver Post, noting that the Nuggets allowed the Jazz to shoot nearly 68 percent from the field in the first half and just about 53 percent for the entire game. Carmelo Anthony had a Nuggets-high 32 points but struggled from the floor, going 9-25 and generally having a rough time dealing with the physical Jazz defense.

Friday night’s game three will now be that much more difficult, as the Nuggets generally struggle in Utah, something Jazz players are aware of.

“We did what we wanted to do; we stole one of the first two here, and now because we’re at home we can’t get complacent,” Williams tells NBA.com. “It’s important not to go out and lay an egg at home.”

Denver Stiffs relay the dominant theme from the game in its discussion of bad referee calls—a conversation relevant to both teams and their fans after last night.

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