Watch: Arron Afflalo ejected for flagrant blow to head of Alec Burks
With a little under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Denver leading 90-86, Gordon Hayward pushed the ball up to Burks in transition. As Burks attacked the hoop from the left wing, Afflalo came across the paint to contest the effort. Instead of getting the ball, Afflalo's right hand swiped down hard across the front of Burks' head, sending Burks flying awkwardly to the court. Jazz center Enes Kanter took exception to the foul, and Afflalo and Kanter had to be separated by Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov.
Upon a video review, the officials hit Afflalo with a flagrant foul 2, a designation that applies to contact that is deemed "unnecessary" and "excessive" and subsequently warrants an automatic ejection. Afflalo departed with 14 points, one rebound and one assist in 31 minutes.
The NBA league office will review Afflalo's foul, as it does all flagrant fouls, to determine whether it merits an additional fine and/or suspension. Already this season, Nuggets forward/center Darrell Arthur and Lakers guard Ronnie Price have been hit with one-game suspensions after hitting opponents in the head on similar plays. Given those precedents, Afflalo could well face a one-game suspension for his hit on Burks, even though Burks was able to remain in the game following the play. The Nuggets play host to the Blazers on Tuesday.
After giving up a 20-plus point lead in the second half, Denver held on down the stretch to squeak out the two-point win. Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 15 points each, and seven Denver players scored in double figures.
Burks finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Hayward posted a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and one assist in the loss.
Denver improved to 9-8. Utah fell to 5-13.