Jazz-Bobcats Preview

The Utah Jazz continue to struggle in first halves, but continue

to make up for it with stirring comeback after stirring

comeback.

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

Orlando 104-94.

Friday’s 90-86 victory at Atlanta paled in comparison. The Jazz

trailed 74-63 early in the fourth quarter before rallying

again.

“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

earlier.”

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

night.