Hornets Hang Tough with NBA’s Best, Jazz Take Control in Fourth Quarter
Hayward, Ball Both Score 21 PTS, Charlotte’s Loses Former to Right Hand Injury
A road trip opener that looked pretty promising for about two-and-a-half quarters quickly took a downward turn in more ways than one for the Charlotte Hornets, who fell to the Utah Jazz, 132-110, on Monday, Feb. 22 in Salt Lake City.
Gordon Hayward led the Hornets with a team-high-tying 21 points, two assists and two steals, although exited the game in the fourth quarter after falling and reaggravating a pre-existing injury to his right hand. Rookie LaMelo Ball bounced back from a rough outing two nights ago to also finish with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in the loss.
After falling behind by 11 halfway through the third quarter, the Jazz closed the frame on a 29-9 run to take a 91-90 advantage over the Hornets. Utah then sprinted out of the fourth-quarter gates on a 22-4 tear in just under five minutes of action, allowing the hosts to put the contest on cruise control and pick up their 21st victory in 23 appearances since Jan. 6.
“[Utah] made shots. Give them credit,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “I liked our first three quarters. I think they hit eleven there in the fourth quarter, so they got going. That’s what they do. I like a lot of what we saw in the first three quarters against a very good team on the road. We were basically tied there at the start of the fourth quarter. The Jazz got hot in the fourth. We have to look for ways to get better, but I saw a lot of good stuff out there tonight.”
Malik Monk finished with 20 points, marking his third 20-point game of the season and second in the last three appearances. PJ Washington had another nice performance following a two-game absence, finishing with 17 points and knocking down a trifecta of three-pointers for the third time this year and second time in two outings. Terry Rozier cooled down a touch following his recent four-game tear, putting up 12 points, two assists and two steals.
Donovan Mitchell (23), Joe Ingles (21) and Georges Niang (21) and Jordan Clarkson (20) all had 20-point games for Utah, with Ingles and Niang both knocking down seven three-pointers on ten and seven attempts, respectively. Mike Conley (15), Rudy Gobert (10 points and 12 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanović (10) also scored in double figures for a Jazz team that won its 14th consecutive home game against the Hornets.
Utah finished the night having connected on an eye-popping 28-of-55 three-point attempts (43%), breaking the franchise record of 26 set against the Hornets earlier this month. Charlotte went just 11-of-36 from deep (31%), although did shoot 46% from the field overall and held the Jazz to just seven second-chance points and 30 points in the paint (15-of-26).
The Hornets will now head to the desert for a matchup with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Feb. 24 beginning at 9 PM EST. Catch all the action on Fox Sports Southeast, the Fox Sports GO app and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM