Jazz start fast, pull away late to beat Hornets 112-102

Dec 20, 2021, 6:35 AM | Updated: 10:06 pm
Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) defends against Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left...

Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) defends against Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left, in the first half during an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 21 rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz to a 112-102 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

Bojan Bogandovic added 23 points for the Jazz, who blew a 22-point lead but finished strong to snap a two-game home losing streak. Donovan Mitchell chipped in 21.

Utah shot only 35.4% from the field but limited Charlotte to 38.6% shooting.

“We got to where we wanted,” Mitchell said. “They played a zone and we were able to break it and get into the paint. Sometimes shots don’t go in and you got to step up on the defensive end. It’s tough when you’re missing shots and they’re hitting tough shots.”

Gobert went 15 of 16 from the free throw line, setting a new career-high for made free throws. He matched his season high of nine by halftime.

Gobert broke down and rebuilt his form at the line over the past couple of years. It has helped him get better results to match the confidence he already had in himself.

“I’ve never been scared to get to the line,” Gobert said. “Some guys have that mindset. I’ve never had that mindset.”

LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with 21 points and 11 assists before fouling out in the final minute. Miles Bridges added 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Terry Rozier chipped in 20 points, but the Hornets could not fully overcome another dismal start and dropped their third straight on the road.

“We’ve been trying to figure it out,” Rozier said. “You got to keep believing. We’ve been playing some tough teams that really move the ball well, and it just didn’t help us when we don’t make shots.”

Charlotte erased a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter and took a 92-91 lead on a dunk from Kelly Oubre Jr.

Mike Conley converted a three-point play to put Utah back in front. Bogdanovic buried back-to-back outside baskets and Mitchell also converted a three-point play to extend the lead to 104-95 with 1:22 left.

Charlotte opened the game by missing eight straight shots. The Hornets did not get their first basket until Bridges drove for a layup 4 ½ minutes into the first quarter.

A night after trailing 37-15 after the first quarter in Phoenix, the Hornets shot 5 of 24 from the field during the quarter, tying a season low for fewest field goals in a period.

“Got a one-point lead with three minutes to go,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “We kept battling. We show resiliency. We show fight, but we got to get off to better starts.”

Utah raced out to a 15-2 lead before Charlotte made a basket. The Jazz extended their lead to 21 points later in the quarter, going up 29-8 on a 12-2 run bookended by two more baskets from Bogdanovic.

Charlotte closed within six points in the third quarter when Ish Smith buried a 3-pointer. Jordan Clarkson closed out the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite a 15-4 run. Gobert punctuated the run with a pair of dunks that gave Utah an 89-72 lead with 8:28 remaining.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Gordon Hayward did not play (low back discomfort) and Cody Martin missed his second straight game (health and safety protocols). … Charlotte fell to 1-7 in Monday games this season. … Rozier and Ball combined for only six first-half points.

Jazz: Royce O’Neale grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds, but also went 1 of 9 from the field. … Utah improved to 30-0 all-time when leading by at least 19 points after the first quarter. … The Jazz went 16 of 53 from 3-point range.

SECOND-QUARTER LETDOWN

After building a 22-point lead early in the second quarter, Utah let Charlotte completely erase it late in the fourth. It marked the third consecutive home game where the Jazz blew a double-digit lead.

Coach Quin Snyder attributed the problems to a poor second quarter, when the Jazz had just five baskets and 19 points after shooting 24% from the field.

“I thought the second quarter we weren’t in sync like we were the other three quarters,” Snyder said.

REBOUNDING WOES

Utah finished with a 68-51 advantage on rebounds. The Jazz collected 22 offensive rebounds, which led to 22 second-chance points.

The Hornets have been outrebounded in 14 of their last 15 games.

“It’s an area that we’re trying to clean up and continue to focus on,” Borrego said. “It’s just going to take five guys battling.”

UP NEXT

Hornets visit Denver on Thursday.

Jazz host Minnesota on Thursday.

___

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Jazz start fast, pull away late to beat Hornets 112-102