Burke sends Jazz to 83-80 win over Bobcats

Trey Burke figured he had just enough time to make the move he’d

been wanting to use all game.

”I’d been taking that 8-foot jump shot pretty much all night

and I wasn’t really driving all the way that much,” Burke said.

”So, in my mind, I thought he was going to go for my shot and

contest it. I hit him with the hesitation and got a better

shot.”

Burke barely beat the shot clock on a driving layup over Kemba

Walker with 19 seconds left and scored 21 points to power the Utah

Jazz past the Charlotte Bobcats 83-80 on Monday night.

”He milked the clock very well, was able to attack and made a

big shot for us,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. ”He continues to

learn lessons and get better every night.”

And as Burke improves, so do the Jazz, who are 5-1 when he

scores 20 points or more.

”It was a grind-out game and Trey made the critical play there

at the end,” teammate Gordon Hayward said. ”Playing in tight

games like this helps you grow as players and as a team. We need

all the experience we can get.”

Matched against another 6-foot-1 sparkplug in Walker, Burke

faked a shot, hesitated and drove the right side of the lane,

releasing the ball just before the shot clock buzzer to give the

Jazz a three-point lead in the closing moments of an often listless

game.

The ball took flight just in time over Walker’s outstretched

arms.

”Kemba had taken a look at the shot clock on the other end, so

he knew I didn’t have much time,” Burke said. ”It was a matter of

me staying poised because I only had 1 1/2 or 2 seconds to make my

move.”

Alec Burks had 14 points, and Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams

added 13 apiece to carry the Jazz to their 10th straight win over

the Bobcats.

Gerald Henderson had 19 points, none in the fourth quarter, and

Al Jefferson and Walker both scored 18 in the Bobcats’ first stop

on a four-game Western Conference swing.

The Jazz held Charlotte to 37 percent shooting and spoiled

Jefferson’s return to Utah, where he spent the last three

seasons.

”I just missed some easy shots, especially the one I missed

when we were down one. We dug ourselves in a deep hole and had to

fight all the way back,” said Jefferson, who was 8 of 23 from the

field.

The Bobcats, unable to sustain any offensive efficiency most of

the game, suddenly found some accuracy in the fourth quarter.

Walker scored five straight points in a 7-0 run that brought

Charlotte to 63-60, but then missed a couple of jump shots.

”We were kind of moving slowly all game. But we made a push

there at the start of the fourth quarter to get us right there at

the end of the game,” Henderson said.

After seven misses to start the final period, Burke finally

scored for the Jazz on a jumper from the wing. Josh McRoberts’

acrobatic tip-in, however, tied the game at 65 with 5:58 to

play.

The Bobcats took their first lead since the first quarter at

77-76 after Ramon Sessions was blocked from behind by Hayward on a

fast break and Walker put the ball back up and in.

Hayward then drove and bounced a pass to Favors for a dunk.

After Jefferson came up short on a baby hook, Burke drove the lane

and just beat the shot clock with his key layup to give the Jazz an

80-77 lead.

The Jazz clinched the game at the line on successive rebound

fouls, with Favors making one and Hayward converting a pair with

2.8 seconds left. Jefferson made a half-court shot at the buzzer

for the final margin.

After a 1-14 start to the season, the Jazz have become healthier

and Burke has brought some stability to Utah’s offense. The Jazz

are 6-5 in their last 11 games.

On the other side, the Bobcats have been close in several games

but unable to close them out. Their last six losses have come by an

average of 3.3 points.

”It’s a make-or-miss league and they made it and we missed.

That’s happened to us the last three nights. We’ve gotten good

shots by the right people and if we’re going to win, they’re going

to have to go in the basket,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford

said.

The Bobcats have lost four of five overall and now face three

more Western Conference teams, against whom they are 0-4 on the

road.

Walker has shot 16 of 54 in the past three games but seemed

determined to make a difference down the stretch. He scored 10

points in the fourth quarter, but Burke countered on the other

end.

”The other players and Coach told me to stay aggressive and to

pick and choose my spots,” Burke said. ”I really didn’t let those

early misses discourage me today. I continued to attack and keep

the defense on their heels.”

The Jazz beat the Bobcats 88-85 on Dec. 21 in a very similar

matchup in which both teams seemed to be going through the motions

for much of the game.

NOTES: Jefferson received a warm round of applause during

introductions, greeted all of the scorers’ table personnel and

hugged Jazz CEO Greg Miller in the front row. … Hayward picked up

two fouls in the first 4 minutes. … Michael Kidd-Gilchrist,

injured Dec. 3, had the cast removed from his left hand last week

but has not been cleared to practice. … The Jazz are 9-7 when

Williams starts and 1-17 when he doesn’t.