Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan enjoyed some memorable games against Utah during his playing career.
But Friday night?
He will probably want to forget his team’s performance at EnergySolutions Arena as quickly as possible.
The Jazz handed Charlotte its fifth straight loss, 98-68, despite the fact Utah played without leading scorers Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap because of ankle injuries.
Jazz backups Enes Kanter (23 points) and DeMarre Carroll (19 points) finished with career highs. Jeremy Evans also tied his career high with 14.
The Bobcats scored nine points in the first quarter, missed 23 of their first 28 shots, managed only 24 points by halftime and were outrebounded, 62-24.
“We couldn’t make anything happen. ... We just could not make a bucket,” Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said. “We had a lot of good looks in the first quarter, but we just couldn’t make them.”
Trailing 47-24 at the half, the Bobcats got as close as 16 midway through the third quarter. But Utah’s Gordon Hayward scored five straight points to stop their momentum.
“We had a good third quarter,” Dunlap said. “We outscored them ... [but] the distance was too much.”
Byron Mullens led the Bobcats with 12 points. Ramon Sessions added 11. But Charlotte’s starters combined to shoot only 15 for 47 from the field. Guards Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson were a combined 2 for 16.
“They killed us in every stat line,” Mullens said. “Obviously, Kanter had a good game. He stepped up with Jefferson and Millsap out. ... They just had it from the beginning. They just set the tone quick.”
After a 4-2 start this season, the Bobcats have lost 43 of 52 games. During the five-game losing streak, they averaged only 85 points.
“It was just a rough night,” Henderson said. “We couldn’t get it going offensively at the start of the game, and that just stuck throughout the entire game.
“We obviously could have played better defense and done better at rebounding. But you’re not going to win if you can’t score.”