Jazz stop Bobcats’ win streak; next season’s Hornets logo unveiled
While the record may not be quite what he wants, Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin loves the fight in his team.
Despite having the worst record in the Western Conference entering the weekend, Corbin’s team showed why again Saturday night.
Trey Burke scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Jazz snapped the Charlotte Bobcats’ three-game winning streak with an 88-85 victory on a night when Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveiled the new logos for the Charlotte Hornets after this season.
"They’re feisty," Corbin said of his young team. "I’ve been saying all year, even with all the struggles we’ve had early in the year, they won’t quit. I told them I wouldn’t quit on them and they’re not quitting on me."
The Jazz certainly didn’t quit Saturday night.
Burke hit a 3-pointer with 1:38 left to put his team up by three and added a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining as Utah held off a late Bobcats rally led by former Jazz standout Al Jefferson.
Gordon Hayward had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who had lost three of their past four games. Derrick Favors added 14 points.
Burke hit four 3-pointers and the Jazz outscored the Bobcats 30-6 from beyond the arc.
Kemba Walker scored 20 points and Jefferson had 19 for the Bobcats, who were playing their fourth game in five nights. The victory would have gotten the Bobcats (13-15) back to .500 on the season.
"We can’t look back. We have some games that looks like a team that just woke up and games where we’re hungry and coming out with intensity," Burke said. "My job is to be a young leader on this team and bring energy every night."
Corbin likes what Burke is giving him.
"Trey is showing a lot of resolve," the coach said. "I can’t say enough about his focus and this group’s focus after they don’t play their best game. … The pressure’s on him every night and we ask him to lead the group. He’ll keep getting better because he’s willing to work."
At a lively halftime ceremony, Jordan unveiled the team’s new primary Hornets logo. The Bobcats become the Hornets the day after their final game this season.
The Bobcats trailed 81-72 with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter and appeared ready to make a run.
After Gerald Henderson hit a pair of free throws, Jefferson started to come alive, cutting the lead to four with a power move inside, drawing an and-one on Favors.
On the next possession, Jefferson had a one-handed put-back dunk to bring the teal and purple clad fans to their feet and close the gap to 81-79. Jefferson then tied the game at 83 with three minutes left on a dunk off a no-look pass from Walker.
But Burke hit a 3-pointer to put the Jazz back in front.
The Jazz had a chance to extend the lead, but Alec Burks threw an alley-oop pass over the head of Haywood and out of bounds on a 3-on-1 fast break with 1:38 remaining. That seemed to trigger a flurry of turnovers on both ends of the court.
With 27 seconds left, Walker beat Burke to the hole on the drive, but missed the layup off the glass. Jefferson had two easy chances in front of the rim, but couldn’t get the ball over the basket on either try.
Burke hit free throws with 10 seconds left to push the lead back to three.
Walker and Henderson each had 3-point opportunities on Charlotte’s final possession but couldn’t connect.
"The basketball gods weren’t on my side tonight," Jefferson said. "It happens."
Jefferson refused to blame it on tired legs or getting fouled.
"No excuses," Jefferson said. "I had two chances to do it and they didn’t go in for me."
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said it was a "disappointing result" but said it wasn’t from a lack of effort.
"We did a good job defensively and gave ourselves a chance to win but the ball didn’t go in," Clifford said.
The Jazz are 2-2 on their road trip, which wraps up Monday at Memphis.
The Bobcats started the week with a win at home Tuesday night against Sacramento and then overcame deficits of 16 points and 20 points on the road to beat Toronto and Detroit.
NOTES: The Bobcats announced before the game that small forward Jeffery Taylor is out for the season with a torn right Achilles tendon. … Hayward has scored in double figures 27 times this season for the Jazz. … The Jazz have defeated the Bobcats nine straight times.