Utah Jazz Battle Back to Beat Trevor Booker, Brooklyn Nets

Former Utah Jazz big man Trevor Booker and the Nets began the year with a loss to Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Co. in Brooklyn.

Before the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets tipped off at Barclays Center on Monday night, Trevor Booker made a promise. He was going to throw down on former teammate Rudy Gobert. And while he stormed out of the gate with a big first quarter and undoubtedly led the Nets’ charge, that vow was ultimately left unfulfilled.

It wasn’t the only loss the former Jazzman would take.

Led by Gordon Hayward, who had his fifth 30-point night of the season, the Jazz battled back from a third-quarter deficit to secure a 101-89 win over Booker and the Nets. It was the team’s fourth consecutive win and eighth in their last 11 games.

Still, it was far from a walk in the park.

Right from the jump, it was obvious that this wasn’t just another game for Booker. He scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in the opening carom alone. His individual battle with Gobert was less successful as the Stifle Tower was able to hit Booker with a swat when he was challenged at the rim.

The Good Book did manage this spin move into a slam, however —

Hayward scored nine points of his own in the period, but the Nets led by two after one.

The second quarter got off to a rocky start for Utah, as the Nets pushed their lead to as many as seven while the Jazz struggled to convert on a plethora of good looks. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was key for Brooklyn during this stretch, scoring eight points in the quarter overall. Nevertheless, the Jazz managed to narrow the gap to 54-52 before halftime.

Entering the third quarter, Jazz coach Quin Snyder tweaked the lineup, starting Boris Diaw over Derrick Favors, who was just 1-of-5 from the floor and team-worst minus-eight to that point. It didn’t turn the tide for the Jazz, though. Both teams struggled coming out of halftime, shooting a combined 0-for-10 through first four minutes.

The first bucket didn’t come until Bojan Bogdanovic scored with a driving layup at the 8:17 mark. However, the Jazz didn’t get theirs until a Shelvin Mack score at 6:43 and the Nets had pushed their advantage to nine by the mid-quarter break.

Luckily, Hayward continued to play well, scoring 13 points in the third, and the Jazz utilized a 17-5 run to close gap. At the end of the quarter, the game was level at 70.

Despite their struggles throughout the first three quarters, the Jazz were able to finish strong and seal the win.

Rodney Hood, whose shot was off all night long (he finished 6-of-19 in the game), came alive, scoring eight fourth-quarter points. He instigated a 9-0 Jazz run to capture a double-digit lead. On the whole, the Jazz would outscore the Nets 31-19 in the quarter. Although Brooklyn made it a two-possession game late, Utah was never in danger of giving up their lead.

Despite a C-effort overall, the Jazz band grooved to the finish.

Hayward’s 30 led the Jazz; he hit three three-pointers and had two steals as well. In addition to not getting dunked on, Gobert gave another All-Star performance. He scored 15 points to go along with 16 rebounds and three blocked shots. Hood and Mack added 15 apiece.

Alec Burks returned to the Jazz lineup for the first time this season, playing three scoreless minutes. Meanwhile, Joe Johnson had a seven-point night in his return to Brooklyn.

Booker finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Nets. Brook Lopez added 14.

With the win, the Jazz improve to 22-13 on the year. They remain in fourth place in the Western Conference. Next up is a quick turnaround against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

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