EnergySolutions Arena - SLC, UT
"We made some mistakes, but I think a lot of these games for this young group of guys is about learning how to finish games. "
- Trey Burke
Burke sends Jazz to 83-80 win over Bobcats
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Trey Burke figured he had just enough time to make the move he'd been wanting to use all game.
"I'd been taking that 8-foot jump shot pretty much all night and I wasn't really driving all the way that much," Burke said. "So, in my mind, I thought he was going to go for my shot and contest it. I hit him with the hesitation and got a better shot."
Burke barely beat the shot clock on a driving layup over Kemba Walker with 19 seconds left and scored 21 points to power the Utah Jazz past the Charlotte Bobcats 83-80 on Monday night.
"He milked the clock very well, was able to attack and made a big shot for us," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He continues to learn lessons and get better every night."
And as Burke improves, so do the Jazz, who are 5-1 when he scores 20 points or more.
"It was a grind-out game and Trey made the critical play there at the end," teammate Gordon Hayward said. "Playing in tight games like this helps you grow as players and as a team. We need all the experience we can get."
Matched against another 6-foot-1 sparkplug in Walker, Burke faked a shot, hesitated and drove the right side of the lane, releasing the ball just before the shot clock buzzer to give the Jazz a three-point lead in the closing moments of an often listless game.
The ball took flight just in time over Walker's outstretched arms.
"Kemba had taken a look at the shot clock on the other end, so he knew I didn't have much time," Burke said. "It was a matter of me staying poised because I only had 1 1/2 or 2 seconds to make my move."
Alec Burks had 14 points, and Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams added 13 apiece to carry the Jazz to their 10th straight win over the Bobcats.
Gerald Henderson had 19 points, none in the fourth quarter, and Al Jefferson and Walker both scored 18 in the Bobcats' first stop on a four-game Western Conference swing.
The Jazz held Charlotte to 37 percent shooting and spoiled Jefferson's return to Utah, where he spent the last three seasons.
"I just missed some easy shots, especially the one I missed when we were down one. We dug ourselves in a deep hole and had to fight all the way back," said Jefferson, who was 8 of 23 from the field.
The Bobcats, unable to sustain any offensive efficiency most of the game, suddenly found some accuracy in the fourth quarter. Walker scored five straight points in a 7-0 run that brought Charlotte to 63-60, but then missed a couple of jump shots.
"We were kind of moving slowly all game. But we made a push there at the start of the fourth quarter to get us right there at the end of the game," Henderson said.
After seven misses to start the final period, Burke finally scored for the Jazz on a jumper from the wing. Josh McRoberts' acrobatic tip-in, however, tied the game at 65 with 5:58 to play.
The Bobcats took their first lead since the first quarter at 77-76 after Ramon Sessions was blocked from behind by Hayward on a fast break and Walker put the ball back up and in.
Hayward then drove and bounced a pass to Favors for a dunk. After Jefferson came up short on a baby hook, Burke drove the lane and just beat the shot clock with his key layup to give the Jazz an 80-77 lead.
The Jazz clinched the game at the line on successive rebound fouls, with Favors making one and Hayward converting a pair with 2.8 seconds left. Jefferson made a half-court shot at the buzzer for the final margin.
After a 1-14 start to the season, the Jazz have become healthier and Burke has brought some stability to Utah's offense. The Jazz are 6-5 in their last 11 games.
On the other side, the Bobcats have been close in several games but unable to close them out. Their last six losses have come by an average of 3.3 points.
"It's a make-or-miss league and they made it and we missed. That's happened to us the last three nights. We've gotten good shots by the right people and if we're going to win, they're going to have to go in the basket," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said.
The Bobcats have lost four of five overall and now face three more Western Conference teams, against whom they are 0-4 on the road.
Walker has shot 16 of 54 in the past three games but seemed determined to make a difference down the stretch. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Burke countered on the other end.
"The other players and Coach told me to stay aggressive and to pick and choose my spots," Burke said. "I really didn't let those early misses discourage me today. I continued to attack and keep the defense on their heels."
The Jazz beat the Bobcats 88-85 on Dec. 21 in a very similar matchup in which both teams seemed to be going through the motions for much of the game.
NOTES: Jefferson received a warm round of applause during introductions, greeted all of the scorers' table personnel and hugged Jazz CEO Greg Miller in the front row. ... Hayward picked up two fouls in the first 4 minutes. ... Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, injured Dec. 3, had the cast removed from his left hand last week but has not been cleared to practice. ... The Jazz are 9-7 when Williams starts and 1-17 when he doesn't.