Although the final score might not necessarily reflect it, this was one of the more competitive performances by the Hornets in Salt Lake City over recent seasons. Still, the ultimate result was the same as the past handful of visits to the Jazz's home floor.
New Orleans (32-22) pulled within two points of Utah (33-23) late in third quarter, but never could get over the hump, losing for a sixth straight time at Utah. The Hornets have not prevailed at EnergySolutions Arena since Feb. 25, 2006, the first time they visited Utah during Chris Paul's pro career.
The Hornets' starting backcourt of Paul (24 points, 11-for-19 FGs) and Rasual Butler (21 points, 8-for-14) was solid, but the bulk of the roster struggled again in the Beehive State. Take away the numbers of Paul and Butler, and New Orleans only went 13-for-37 from the field.
Playing its first game since the Friday passing of longtime team owner Larry Miller, Utah used some hot shooting to grab an early lead and keep the Hornets in a hole all night. Mehmet Okur (team-best 25 points) helped the Jazz pile up 61 points in the first half.
HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES
On offensive rebounding:
You have to do that and get stops defensively. I think what I told the guys is that we were trying to rely on our offensive ballgame, outscoring people, and there are going to be nights where we arent going to make it. Weve got to be able to rely on our defense a lot more and right now we are just having a lot of trouble on the defensive end, guarding guys off the dribble number one and protecting number two and the third thing is when we are getting beat we are fouling too much. Weve just got to do a better job and go back to the drawing board.
On Jazz actions on and off the ball:
Jerry Sloan teams, one thing that is so great is that they execute. They always are one of the top teams in the league as far as offensive execution. Defensively you cant get lost, youve got to play your man, youve got to be aggressive and youve got to be physical and if you have none of those things you have no shot.
On his leg:
It feels good. Just a little leg bruise. Thats about it. Its just the nature of the game. You have got some bumps and some bruises. Its nothing bad at all.
On the 4th quarter fatigue from last nights OT game:
Thats not the case. Youve got to give them (Jazz) credit. They executed down the stretch. They made plays when they had to. We didnt do a good job of that ourselves.
On offensive rebounds by Utah:
Its just one of those things. They were quicker to the ball tonight. That was it.
On the game
We just try to contain them as much as possible. If you watch the Jazz play they kill teams by getting points in the paint. We tried not to let that happen, but they still did. They got a lot of points in the paint. We did a lot better on the boards this game. We played hard and thats what we can take from these last two games. Were taking steps in the right direction. Its not about today. Its about getting to the playoffs and what we do then.
On the emotion of the Jazz and its crowd:
Losing your owner is tough. The crowd was really into the game, the players you could tell they really wanted to win it. We tried to come in here and steal one, but unfortunately we came up short.
On the end of the game:
They were making shots. Thats what happens. I dont believe in that fatigue stuff. Towards the end they made plays. Okur hit some big shots. Deron hit a three and another shot. It wasnt fatigue, we just lost.