The Utah Jazz continue to struggle in first halves, but continue
to make up for it with stirring comeback after stirring
The Jazz have rallied from double-digit, second-half deficits to
win four straight games heading into Saturday night’s matchup
against the Charlotte Bobcats, the only remaining NBA team without
a home victory.
Utah (6-3) rallied from an 18-point deficit to win 109-107 in
double overtime last Saturday at home against the Los Angeles
Clippers. The Jazz climbed out of a 22-point hole Tuesday in Miami
to win 116-114 in overtime, then fell behind by 18 late in the
third quarter Wednesday before closing with a 48-20 run to beat
Friday’s 90-86 victory at Atlanta paled in comparison. The Jazz
trailed 74-63 early in the fourth quarter before rallying
“We just hung in there when we got down a little bit,” point
guard Deron Williams said. “Just like the last games, we hung in
and didn’t hang our heads.”
Williams led the Jazz with 24 points and 10 assists for his
third straight double-double. He’s averaging 25.0 points and 12.7
assists in the first three games of this four-game trip.
Williams is also developing better chemistry with fifth-year
forward Paul Millsap, who has emerged as Utah’s leading scorer at
22.4 points per game after Carlos Boozer left in the offseason to
join Chicago. Millsap hit a corner jumper with 1:20 to play Friday
to put the Jazz ahead for good.
“We take a lot of pride because we’re doing it the right way.
We’re doing it defensively,” Williams said. “We’re executing in the
second half. Now we’ve got to find a way to do it in the first
half. We start off sluggish, so maybe we need to shake things up
Charlotte (3-6) is returning home after consecutive road
victories, including a 93-85 win over Washington on Friday. Gerald
Wallace had double-doubles in both games, with 25 points and 14
rebounds against the Wizards.
Boris Diaw added 19 points and D.J. Augustin had 17 and 10
assists Friday for the Bobcats, who started 1-6 after making the
playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season.
“We really needed that win,” Diaw said. “We had a bad start to
the season, so it’s great. It will get us on a little roll.”
The Bobcats are 0-3 at home for the first time.
Shooting guard Raja Bell, who is in his second stint with Utah,
will face the Bobcats for the first time since he played parts of
two seasons for them from 2008-09. Bell started 49 of 50 games for
Charlotte before he was dealt to Golden State on Nov. 16, 2009, in
the trade that brought Stephen Jackson to the Bobcats.
Utah swept two meetings from Charlotte last season for the first
time as Williams averaged 21.5 points and 11.0 assists. Wallace
averaged 28.5 points and shot 54.8 percent for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats are 0-2 in the second halves of back-to-back games
while the Jazz are 2-1 when playing for the second straight