Jazz dealt setback in playoff chase

U.S. Sports Desk, Apr 4 (EFE).- Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari led a balanced scoring attack in a 113-96 win over the Utah Jazz, who fell a half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the battle for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff slot.

The Italian sharpshooter scored nine consecutive points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City to give Denver a cushion after the Jazz had pulled within 10.

Also among seven players in double figures for the deep Nuggets squad were power forward Kenneth Faried, who tallied 19, and rookie guard Evan Fournier, who had his second straight strong shooting night off the bench with 18 points.

The win was the ninth in 11 games for the Nuggets (51-24), who are jousting with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

The Jazz (39-37), meanwhile, saw their winning streak snapped at five and now find themselves a half game behind the Lakers (39-36) for the final Western Conference playoff spot with just a handful of games remaining in the regular season.

Small forward Gordon Hayward led the Jazz's attack with 18 points, while center Al Jefferson and power forward Paul Millsap scored 16 points apiece.

Utah's guards, however, struggled in their matchups with their Denver counterparts.

Point guard Mo Williams, who had been a key factor in Utah's recent winning streak, went just 2-of-12 from the field and 0-of-3 from three-point range.

Shooting guard Randy Foye, meanwhile, managed just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.

The quick and athletic Nuggets squad had a 42-33 rebounding advantage and held Denver to just 6-of-20 shooting from behind the 3-point arc.

In other action Wednesday around the NBA, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 88-78, the Brooklyn Nets routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-95, the Charlotte Bobcats edged the Philadelphia 76ers 88-83, and the New York Knicks notched their 10th straight victory with a 95-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

The Boston Celtics clipped the Detroit Pistons 98-93, the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away from the Milwaukee Bucks 107-98, the San Antonio Spurs cruised past the Orlando Magic 98-84, the Memphis Grizzlies trounced the Portland Trail Blazers 94-76, and the Houston Rockets defeated the Sacramento Kings 112-102.

The Los Angeles Clippers pummeled the Phoenix Suns 126-101 and the Golden State Warriors eased past the New Orleans Hornets 98-88.