Jazz 98, Bobcats 68
Accustomed to limited minutes off the bench for the Utah Jazz
this season, Enes Kanter was stellar in a much bigger role.
Kanter had career highs of 23 points and 22 rebounds in a rare
start, helping the Jazz beat the Charlotte Bobcats 98-68 on Friday
night to snap a three-game losing streak.
DeMarre Carroll added a career-high 19 points, while Gordon
Hayward and Jeremy Evans chipped in 14 apiece for the Jazz, who
played without Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. It didn’t matter
against the Bobcats. Utah held a 62-24 edge on the boards and
scored around the basket at will.
”It was a really good opportunity,” Kanter said. ”Big Al was
injured. Paul was injured. It was me trying to do my job.”
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin wasn’t surprised to see such a strong
performance from several role players.
”I see these guys work all the time,” Corbin said. ”I have a
different expectation because we see it and I have a feel for what
they can do if they play right.”
Byron Mullens had 12 points and Ramon Sessions added 11 for the
Bobcats (13-45), who shot under 35 percent from the field and have
lost five straight games.
Charlotte never got anything going on offense when it mattered
and was held to its lowest point total of the season.
”We thought there would be one shot for 10 points and it
doesn’t work that way,” Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. ”It is
possession by possession. We had a lot of good looks in the first
quarter and we just could not make a bucket tonight.”
Jefferson and Millsap, the top two scorers and rebounders for
the Jazz, both sat out with left ankle sprains. Kanter and Derrick
Favors started in their absence.
Kanter, the Turkish center, made the most of his chance.
He became the first Jazz player to post at least 20 points and
20 rebounds in regulation since Carlos Boozer scored 21 points and
pulled down 20 boards on Jan. 25, 2010, against the Phoenix
Jefferson was the last Jazz player to reach the 20-20 mark after
posting 28 points and 26 rebounds in three overtimes against the
Boston Celtics last April 26.
Kanter offered a preview of things to come when he made his
first three baskets and pulled down four quick rebounds to push
Utah out to an early 9-4 lead. That set the stage for Hayward to
spark an even bigger run as the first quarter unfolded.
Hayward hit a pair of free throws, drove for a layup and buried
a deep 3-pointer to help the Jazz outscore the Bobcats 10-1 over
the final 3:25 of the quarter. It propelled Utah to a 21-9 lead.
Charlotte went completely cold during that stretch. The Bobcats
missed six straight shots to end the quarter and shot just 4 of 20
(20 percent) in the period.
”I thought we did a much better job than in previous games,”
Hayward said. ”There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but we
did a good job of moving the game plan. We executed what we wanted
to do for the most part and we got to continue to do that.”
Utah opened the second quarter with a 16-6 run to take a 37-17
lead. Randy Foye provided the biggest highlight of the run when he
made a 3-pointer – his first basket of the game – with 5:09 left
before halftime to claim the single-season franchise record for
Carroll made three consecutive baskets in the final three
minutes of the half, the final one a 3-pointer, to help Utah build
a 47-24 halftime lead. It equaled the lowest first-half offensive
output of the season for the Bobcats.
Charlotte cut it to 57-42 in the third quarter after a pair of
driving layups from Sessions. The Jazz responded with a 9-0 run,
capped by Kanter’s jumper, to make it 64-42 with 2:24 left in the
quarter. Utah pushed it to a game-high 32-point lead when Carroll
sank a jumper with 1:19 remaining to make it 96-64.
For the Bobcats, this all feels too familiar after posting the
worst winning percentage for a season in NBA history a year ago.
Fighting through the mounting losses becomes the task ahead for
”Some of these guys are new, but you just need to keep your
head and keep fighting,” Mullens said. ”You just have to remember
it’s just a game. Just go out there and have fun. I know it’s a job
now, but you still have to go out and compete.”
NOTES: Charlotte’s nine first-quarter points were the fewest
scored by any Jazz opponent this season. . Both Foye and Millsap
were at the hospital on Thursday as their wives each delivered baby
daughters, Pilar Foye and Paular Millsap. . Utah had a 31-7 edge in
second-chance points and a 30-2 edge in fast-break points.