The Utah Jazz dodged a bullet named Antonio McDyess on Thursday night.
McDyess brought Denver back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit, scoring 15 points in the quarter and 39 in the game, but the Jazz held on to win 94-89.
John Stockton made two free throws with 15.2 seconds to play, and Karl Malone stole the ball from McDyess on Denver's final attempt to tie the game as Utah escaped with the win.
"They made a run," said Malone, who scored 10 in the fourth quarter and 28 for the game. "They're a young team. They've got some horses."
Malone also grabbed 10 rebounds, despite having to leave briefly in the first half with a strained quadriceps muscle. Stockton added 16 points, including the two free throws that put Utah ahead 92-89 with 15.2 seconds left. On Denver's ensuing possession, Malone stripped McDyess of the ball and was fouled. He made both free throws for the final margin.
McDyess keyed the Denver comeback from 11 points down at the start of the final period, making 6-of-9 field goals. Eric Williams added 12 points for the game, as the Nuggets fell to 0-11 on the road and lost their sixth straight game.
"We had our chance to win at the end," said McDyess, who also grabbed 11 rebounds. "I kind of messed up on the last two plays, and they just showed their maturity. We showed a lot of poise. We showed heart and didn't give up."
Jeff Hornacek added 13 points, but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. Thurl Bailey scored 11 points as the Jazz won their second straight and fourth in five games.
Johnny Taylor hit an 18-foot jumper with seven minutes to play to bring the Nuggets to 82-78, capping a 13-6 run from the start of the fourth quarter. After the Jazz stretched their lead to eight points twice, McDyess hit a 21-foot jumper and was fouled by Malone with four minutes to play. He mde the free throw to bring the Nuggets within 90-85.
After a miss by Malone, McDyess scored again to bring the Nuggets within three. With 1:03 to play, McDyess threw in a short hook shot to make it 90-89. Hornacek missed on the Jazz's possession, and the Nuggets had a chance to win it.
After Bailey blocked McDyess' short baseline shot out of bounds, Denver set up a shot for Bryant Stith. He missed on a 3-point attempt, Malone rebounded, and Stockton was fouled to set up Utah's final scores.
"They're a tough team," said Bailey, who scored 11 points, but was just 1-of-4 in the last period. "This is the type of team you know you can't let down against, because they'll be right back in it like they were tonight."
Notes: Malone left the game limping with 2:23 left in the half and went straight to the locker room. Jazz officials said he had a strained right quadriceps muscle and did not know if he would return. He skipped halftime warmups, but started the second half, scoring six points, grabbing four rebounds and playing the entire third quarter. In his 14-year career, Malone has missed just five games. ... After missing two games this week recovering from knee surgery, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who returned for Tuesday's win over Cleveland, was ejected in the first quarter after receiving two technical fouls from referee Steve Javie. ... McDyess passed the 4,000-point mark for his career with a baseline jumper in the second quarter. ... Coming into the game, Van Exel was 1-of-18 from 3-point range in his last six games. He hit one Thursday late in the third quarter. ... Utah began a three-games-in-three-nights stretch Thursday, its first of the season. The Jazz will play at Portland on Friday before returning Saturday to Salt Lake City to face Minnesota.
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