Jazz 94, Hornets 90
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)
Devin Harris worked hard on his 3-point shooting this past summer.
It finally seems to be paying off for the Utah Jazz guard, even if his biggest one against New Orleans got a friendly bounce off the front of the rim before dropping through.
Harris hit a late 3 in a tie game to give Utah the lead, and he added three free throws to seal a 94-90 win over the Hornets on Monday night.
''It felt short,'' Harris said of his big 3-pointer, ''but I've got to give the man upstairs credit on that one. It trickled in and we needed it in a big way.''
Harris finished with 19 points and also had a key assist down the stretch.
''He's getting better; the guys are getting better reading off him,'' Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of his point guard, who was just 4 of 14 this season from 3-point range coming in before going 3 of 6 against the Hornets.
Harris gave credit to center Al Jefferson, who led Utah with a season-high 22 points on 11-of-18 shooting. He had 12 points alone in the first 7 minutes of the third quarter.
''With Al playing the way he's playing, he's going to command a double team,'' Harris said. ''And you'll get open shots on the weak side. Playing through him is working for us.''
Howard scored six straight points for Utah in the third as the Jazz tied the score at 80. But his biggest play was an offensive rebound that gave Utah a second chance with under a minute to play. A few seconds later, Harris zipped the ball to Paul Millsap on the pick-and-roll for a jam that put Utah up 91-86.
''I snuck in there, but I had to get my young Wake Forest alum out of the way,'' Howard said of 6-9 forward Al-Farouq Aminu. ''That was a big possession.''
Miles didn't let spending the whole first quarter on the bench bother him. He finished strong, with five points, two rebounds and a steal in the fourth quarter.
''I have great respect for C.J., not getting to play in the first half like he wanted to, then coming in and not hanging his head and giving a performance like he did,'' Howard said. ''He keeps trucking. We fed off that and picked up a big win.''
The Jazz (2-3) won their second at home to offset three blowout losses on the road. Utah plays 12 of 15 January games at home before kicking off a brutal road schedule.
''It's not time to panic, but obviously we got to do a better job on the road,'' Harris said. ''We need to find that confidence.''
New Orleans (2-3) now has dropped three straight after opening the season with a pair of wins.
Jarrett Jack scored a season-high 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting for New Orleans, which took a 74-70 lead into the fourth quarter. But Jack also committed a few turnovers down the stretch and missed some key jumpers.
''In the fourth quarter we couldn't muster the same kind of efficiency on offense,'' Hornets coach Monty Williams said. ''We were getting enough stops ... we had some silly turnovers.''
The Hornets continued to struggle from 3-point range, making just 3 of 10 attempts. They entered the game last in the league in long-range shooting.
The Hornets led 22-18 after the first quarter, making seven of their first 11 shots. Jason Smith made four straight jumpers off the bench as New Orleans led by as many as seven early. He finished with 16 points.
Chris Kaman scored the Hornets' first six points and 10 overall in the second quarter to finish with 14.
Every player scored for the Jazz except guard Raja Bell.
''We're a deep team,'' Harris said. ''The rotations might not always be the same, but you see guys come in ready to play. In this shortened season we're going to need that bench.''
New Orleans outscored Utah 11-4 to open the second half and regain the lead, but Favors and Jefferson brought the Jazz back.
''We just had some things that didn't go our way,'' Jack said. ''I thought we fought hard. They pulled it out in the end.''
NOTES: Howard was fined $25,000 Monday for a flagrant foul in Saturday's game against the Spurs in which he hit James Anderson in the head. Corbin was surprised at the fine. ''It's unfortunate. I thought he made a basketball foul. I don't think he was going out to deliberately hurt the guy, but he made contact with his head,'' Corbin said. ''They made it a point of emphasis the last couple of years.'' ... Hornets leading scorer, guard Eric Gordon, missed his fourth straight game with a bruised knee and remains listed as day to day. ... New Orleans forward Trevor Ariza exited in the fourth quarter with a strained groin. ...The slow-starting Jazz made only 3 of their first 11 shots Monday.