George Hill scores 25, Jazz beat Mavericks 97-81
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The offseason acquisition of George Hill was a clear upgrade at the point guard position for the Utah Jazz, but few expected this type of production from the nine-year veteran.
Hill scored 25 points and the Jazz defeated the Dallas Mavericks 97-81 on Wednesday night.
Hill continued to power the Jazz offensively after coming to the team in a three-way trade with the Pacers and Hawks last summer. He has scored 18-plus points in all five games, the only Jazz player to do so.
“Some of the things that he's doing, you were hopeful that he would do,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “But you're equally pleased that he's doing them. He's made big shots at crucial times. What I've seen is his willingness to (say), `Where do you need me? Do you need me to score? Do you need me to get a stop? Do you want me to lead?'
“The leadership component, to me, is probably the most unique. That's something our team is responding to.”
The Mavericks trailed the entire game except for a 16-15 lead at the beginning of the second quarter. After shooting just 37.0 percent in the first quarter, the Jazz hit 49.2 percent the rest of the way. They were 12 for 25 from 3-point range.
“I'm just happy we're winning, I don't care about the numbers,” Hill said. “Just doing what it takes to try to win a game. I'm glad my teammates have confidence in me to control the tempo out there and try to make plays.”
Rodney Hood scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Jazz as teammate Rudy Gobert had 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 14 points, but they shot just 26.9 percent behind the arc.
“It's been a tough start for us,” Mavs center Andrew Bogut said. “No one is going to give us anything easy, so we got to dig ourselves out of this hole.
“We weren't in the game, really from the start. Whatever it was, we were kind of chasing our tails from the start. Our bench did a great job of getting us back in the game. Made a run. We just couldn't sustain it.”
Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki started after missing the last two games with an illness. He scored nine points on 4-for-14 shooting. … Point guard Deron Williams, who was drafted by the Jazz No. 3 overall in 2005, was still booed five years after being traded away.
Jazz: Derrick Favors matched a season-high with 23 minutes as he works his way back from a knee injury. … Dante Exum matched a season-high 10 points off the bench.
Gobert signed a lucrative multi-year extension Tuesday to keep from entering restricted free agency after the season. The 7-foot-1, 245-pound center averaged career-highs in points (9.1), rebounds (11.0) and blocks (2.2) last season and has developed into one of the top defenders in the league. Gobert said the extension puts both he and the team on the same page and reinforces their belief in him. He knows he has to produce, but said there isn't any extra pressure. “As a human, it wasn't really impacting my game, but in my mind you think about it a little bit,” Gobert said. “Now that it's done I'm focused on basketball and the team.”
The Mavericks entered the game ranked No. 15 in the league averaging 103.7 points per game. Coach Rick Carlisle is looking for more on that end of the court, but didn't get it Wednesday. “We want to move the ball,” Carlisle said. “We want to get it in the paint as much as possible. We've had some tough luck with shot-making, but that will come.”
Mavericks: Host the Portland Trail Blazers and star point guard Damian Lillard on Friday.
Jazz: Host the Spurs on Friday after upsetting Kawhi Leonard and company in San Antonio on Tuesday.
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- George Hill
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