They didn't defend.
They couldn't stop Denver point guards Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, the veteran former University of Utah star.
As a result, a potentially uplifting win turned into a 100-81 loss the Jazz's eighth in a row.
Denver outscored Utah 28-8 after the Jazz took a 73-72 lead on Alec Burks' three-point play with 10:18 remaining.
"Too many turnovers, too many offensive rebounds for them [and] wide-open layups," said Gordon Hayward. "I think a lot went wrong."
After watching Utah miss 13 of its final 17 shots, coach Tyrone Corbin agreed.
Asked what happened to his team down the stretch, he said, "Couldn't make a shot. The second shots they had. Mistakes. Turnovers. I thought the guys were playing hard. We just made critical mistakes in the fourth quarter."
Hayward led the Jazz with 22 points, but he had only four in the second half and went scoreless in eight minutes in the fourth quarter.
"They did a better job on pick-and-rolls," he said. "They started to blitz the pick-and-roll. I tried to find the open man when they doubled. So they did a lot better job on that ... and I didn't get anything in transition."
After Burks' three-point play, the Jazz managed one free throw by Rudy Gobert in the next 31/2 minutes.
On the other end, Miller scored seven points during a 14-3 run that gave the Nuggets an 86-76 lead with five minutes remaining.
From there, Lawson took over. He scored six quick points as Denver finished off its second victory of the season.
"He's a closer," Corbin said. "You have to look what the guy did in the fourth quarter for them. He made big play after big play. He pulled the defense to get a guy wide-open shot on the other side. ... He did a great job."
Hayward got the Jazz off to a quick start.
Despite not attempting a shot in the opening 21/2 minutes, he scored 12 points as Utah built a 26-16 lead.
Denver owned a 46-41 lead late in the second quarter before Hayward scored the Jazz's final four points. Utah stayed within one, 46-45, at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Nuggets seemed close to breaking away again, but Derrick Favors scored seven straight points in the final two minutes to keep the Jazz in the game.
Favors finished with a season-high 21. He also grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots.
In the fourth quarter, however, the Jazz fell apart.
"We're learning on the fly," Corbin said. "You tell them and tell them and tell them. But they have to go through it. ... It's tough. But it is where we are. We have to keep working."
Are the Jazz starting to doubt themselves, after losing a winnable game?
"I don't want to fall into that," Corbin said. "We believe we can win. I thought the guys were fighting and trying hard."
Storylines Fourth quarter freeze
R The Nuggets outscore Utah in the final 10 minutes, 28-8, and hands the Jazz their eighth straight loss.
• Gordon Hayward scores 22 points, but only four in the second half, as Denver defeats the Jazz.