Jazz 96, Hornets 84

Gordon Hayward was on the bench, in the middle of what looked
like a third straight frustrating outing when he heard the thud of
Marvin Williams’ head hitting the far end of the court.

Williams had been Utah’s leading scorer to that point, but left
with a concussion late in the third quarter. Hayward checked back
in soon after and burst out of his recent slump in time to head off
New Orleans’ comeback attempt, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the
final quarter to seal the Jazz’s 96-84 victory over the Hornets on
Wednesday night.

”I started to hit some shots, which was good. More importantly
we kind of pulled away from them a little bit as a team and we
started this road trip off right,” said Hayward, who scored 12
points combined in his previous two games. ”It just kind of came
to me. I was able to step up and knock some big shots down. I
haven’t hit those in the past three games so it’s good for me to
finally knock down some shots.”

Al Jefferson had 19 points, scoring 13 in the first half of what
often looked like a sloppy and disjointed game, with each team
committing more than 15 turnovers.

”It’s a road win for us. That’s what we came out to get,” Jazz
coach Ty Corbin said. ”We toughed it out. … We were together
enough to get it together at the end of the game, to win it in the
fourth quarter.”

Paul Millsap scored 16 points and Williams also had 16 before
hitting the court hard during a scramble for a rebound.

”I heard it from all the way down on the bench,” Hayward said.
”It looked pretty painful.”

Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez each scored 18 points for New
Orleans, which has lost eight of nine. Brian Roberts added 11
points. But the Hornets, who defeated Utah in an earlier meeting
this season, struggled from 3-point range this time, going 5 of
21.

Utah was a disciplined 6 of 11 from deep.

”We looked like a young team,” Hornets coach Monty Williams
said. ”Some of our young guys were making mistakes where they knew
it when they made it and when the coaches talked to them. That is
part of this process.”

Utah outshot the Hornets 49.2 percent (31 of 63) to 42.5 percent
(31 of 73) and outscored the Hornets 28-17 from the free throw
line, more than compensating for New Orleans’ 44-38 scoring edge in
the paint. Millsap was 10 of 12 from the foul line.

”We attacked the basket and put some pressure on the referees
to make some calls,” Jefferson said. ”Any time we get to the line
like that, it’s going to help us.”

The Jazz began to take command in the third quarter,
methodically building a double-digit lead while the Hornets
struggled from the field. New Orleans made only five of 14 shots in
the period, missing all five 3-point attempts, while Utah made 10
of 17 shots (59 percent). Millsap had nine of his points in the
quarter and Williams added eight before his fall forced him from
the game.

Still the Jazz continued to pull away, thanks to Kanter’s
three-point play and inside basket, the second of which put Utah up
72-56 heading into the final quarter.

”We lost the game in the third quarter,” Vasquez said. ”We
didn’t execute and they outscored us 31-17.

”We cannot afford to lose like we did,” he added. ”We are
much better than what we showed tonight.”

That proved too much for New Orleans to overcome, despite a 13-4
run to start the fourth quarter which narrowed the score to
76-69.

That’s when Hayward took over, hitting a pair of 3s and scoring
as he was fouled by Austin Rivers to help Utah regain a
double-digit lead. His end-to-end fast-break layup put Utah up by
13 with about two minutes left.

After the teams finished the first quarter tied at 20, the
Hornets went more than half of the second quarter without scoring a
point. New Orleans missed seven shots and had six turnovers during
that stretch, but Utah was not able to parlay New Orleans’ drought
into a big lead, going up 29-20 before Lopez hit a pair of free
throws and the Hornets started to close the gap.

New Orleans outscored Utah 18-12 the rest of the quarter, with
Vasquez hitting a 3, a floater and finger roll, the last basket
cutting Utah’s lead to 41-39 at halftime.

NOTES: Hornets rookie Anthony Davis (left ankle) missed his
sixth-straight game and Monty Williams said before tip-off that he
did not expect Davis back for Saturday night’s home game against
Oklahoma City, either. … Utah was without Mo Williams (right
foot) for a third straight game, but Corbin said he expects
Williams to be back Friday night at Oklahoma City. As for Williams’
head injury, it was too early to tell. ”Hopefully, he is fine,”
Corbin said. … Utah has won five of six games. …The Hornets’
3-point woes came two nights after making 15 of 25 3-point attempts
in a road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. … Lopez did not
block a shot for the first time this season.