Randle scores 23, Jazz push past Pelicans 114-104
A smiling Derrick Favors assured that his wrists were just fine after pounding down on the rim during a handful of forceful jams.
Favors scored 25 points, Gobert added 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Utah tied a season high with 70 points in the paint in a 114-104 triumph over New Orleans on Wednesday night.
“Sometimes, I just got to stop overthinking and just got to jump over someone or go through someone and that’s what I did,” Gobert said of his emphatic dunk that put Utah up nine inside the final four minutes. “That’s kind of what we needed, just for the momentum and show that we were here to win.”
The Pelicans, who’d come back from 17-down to win in Utah on Monday night, had pulled to 104-98 on Kenrich Williams’ corner 3 with 4:20 left. But New Orleans never threatened after Joe Ingles set up the decisive Gobert slam that had teammates leaping off the bench.
“I’ve been yelling at the big fella to dunk on somebody for the past week and he finally got one,” Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. “But he’s been great. Fav as well. Fav’s the Hulk. That’s his new nickname. He’s down there and doesn’t fear anybody.”
The Jazz had scored 70 in the paint just one other time this season in a 129-97 beat-down of the New York Knicks in late December. In New Orleans, Favors’ dunks included two-handed alley-oop throw down of Joe Ingles driving, left-handed lob.
“I just wanted to be aggressive,” Favors said. “Joe and the guards did a good job finding me and I’d make sure I go up strong because I knew guys from the weak side were going to come and try to block my shot or try to foul me.”
Randle scored 23 points for the Pelicans, who had won their previous three games – all on the road – before their streak ended in their return home. Anthony Davis scored 16 points and blocked two shots in 21 minutes, his usual workload in the wake of his late-January trade request. Jrue Holiday also scored 16 for New Orleans, which enjoyed only a few slim leads in the first half.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said his team’s downfall was Utah’s 28 points off of 17 Pelicans turnovers.
“If you give up almost 30 points in a game off your turnovers then that changes everything,” Gentry said. “That changes points in the paint, fast-break points … and when you look at those kinds of stats and you can see where they dominated in those areas.”
Jazz: Mitchell scored 22 on 10-of-18 shooting, including a pair of 3s, to offset his eight turnovers. … Ingles had 10 points and 10 assists. … Ricky Rubio assisted on 10 baskets, reaching double figures in that category for the first time in 10 games. … Kyle Korver had 12 points and Crowder finished with 11. … Shot 52.3 percent (46 of 88) despite going 8-of-30 from 3.
Pelicans: Frank Jackson scored 13 points, hitting three of four 3-point attempts, in 28 minutes off the bench. … Kenrich Williams scored 12. … New Orleans missed 15 of 24 3-point attempts and missed seven of 20 free throws as a team.
Utah built an 18-point lead in the third quarter when Gobert’s layup and Mitchell’s 3 capped an 11-4 start to the second half, putting the Jazz up 69-51.
The Jazz still led by 16 when Davis checked out for good in the middle of the period, but the Pelicans then went on a 16-4 run to pull to 80-76.
Utah responded with the next nine points, with Favors scoring six on a layup, free throws and a putback dunk, and Jae Crowder‘s dunk made it 102-85 with 8:08 left.
New Orleans rallied once more, but unlike on Monday, Utah answered.
“After we got slapped in the face last game, it was a wake-up call for us that no game is going to be easy,” Gobert said. “We’re going to play teams that maybe don’t have a chance to make the playoffs, but they have 15 guys that want to prove themselves and show what they can do.”
Jazz: Visit Memphis on Friday night.
Pelicans: Host Toronto on Friday night.
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