Those past failures looming in the background only made the final
minute against the New Orleans Pelicans feel even more
uncomfortable. Utah watched a comfortable lead turn into a
one-possession game in a matter of seconds.
This time, however, the Jazz scripted a different ending.
Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks each scored 21 points and hit several
key free throws in the final minute to help Utah beat New Orleans
100-96 on Friday night.
"I knew we had it," Hayward said. "We've been in that situation
before. That's where some of the earlier games in the season help
you out because you've been there. They made a little run, but we
were able to hold them off."
Derrick Favors added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz
(24-52), who won for just the second time in their last eight home
games and snapped a five-game losing streak.
Anthony Morrow scored 26 points off the bench on 9-of-11 shooting
and Brian Roberts added 15 for the Pelicans (32-44), who lost their
After trailing at halftime, Favors swung momentum in Utah's
direction with a huge third quarter. He scored 14 points on 6-of-7
shooting from the field in the quarter. Favors took advantage of a
hole left inside when back spasms flared up for Pelicans forward
Anthony Davis at halftime and he did not return to the court until
the fourth quarter.
"I just took him out," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "At
some point, you look at a guy and he wanted to play, and I just said
no. We're not in the playoffs. Every game for me is a championship
game, but I've got to be smart."
With Favors powering Utah's offensive engine, the Jazz went on a
13-2 run to seize the lead. Favors ignited the spurt with three
straight baskets culminating with a tip-in of a missed jumper by
Hayward. Once Marvin Williams finished the run with a layup, Utah
The Jazz built a 10-point advantage after Hayward made back-to-back
baskets to put Utah up 73-63 in the final minute of the third
New Orleans mounted a rally in the fourth quarter. The Pelicans
trimmed the lead to three points on three separate occasions behind
baskets from Morrow. They trailed 82-79 after a floater from Morrow
with 7:16 left. Enes Kanter scored a layup to keep New Orleans from
Then Hayward and Burks combined to each score a basket and two free
throws to push Utah's lead to 93-83 with 3:18 remaining.
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The Pelicans made it interesting in the final minute after Morrow
drained a pull-up 3-pointer to make it 95-93 with 17.9 seconds left.
Hayward and Burks combined to make five free throws in the final
13.5 seconds to seal the win.
"It's definitely showing (our) growth," Favors said. "We learn and
we have a little bit more experience in that area. We need to
continue doing that, especially in close games like that. Just learn
how to close a game up."
Utah surged in front late in the first quarter with efficient
shooting. The Jazz shot 50 percent fro the field in the quarter and
it helped them overtake Pelicans after quelling repeated spurts.
They staked out a 21-18 lead after Burks converted a three-point
play to cap an 8-0 run.
New Orleans regained control in the second quarter after holding
Utah without a basket for nearly five minutes. The Pelicans used a
13-2 spurt to turn a four-point deficit into an seven-point lead.
Darius Miller capped the run with a 3-pointer to give New Orleans a
40-33 with 4:07 left before halftime.
Burks helped Utah get going again, scoring on a running layup to
break a drought that lasted 4:46 after Jeremy Evans converted an
alley-oop dunk to give the Jazz a 31-27 lead.
The Jazz went back ahead 43-41 on a hook shot from Kanter just
before halftime — setting the stage for Favors' third-quarter
"Bottom line is we gave up too many points in the third (quarter),"
Morrow said. "Defensively, when we did get stops, we didn't
capitalize on fast breaks and opportunities on offense."
NOTES: Tyreke Evans has flourished as a starter for the Pelicans.
Coming into Friday's game, he averaged 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and
6.2 assists in 16 starts. Evans finished with just 8 points on
3-of-11 shooting. ... Utah's Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter combined
for 43 double-doubles this season before facing New Orleans. Favors
fell a rebound shy of getting his 24th double-double. ... The
Pelicans lead the NBA in blocked shots with 6.4 per game and had
nine versus the Jazz on Friday night.
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