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Utah Jazz rally past Pelicans to snap 0-8 start

Published November 14, 2013 12:19 pm

NBA • Utah comes back from 16-point deficit to win its first game of the season.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A week ago in Boston, Enes Kanter sat in front of his locker, his head in his hands following another loss, just one of eight to start the year.

Point guard John Lucas III said the defeats have him despondent after games, "in a shell" as his mind goes somewhere else recounting the mistakes.

On Wednesday night, however, there were only smiles in the Jazz locker room.

"Man," forward Derrick Favors said. "Finally got that monkey off our back."

It took longer than it has for any Utah Jazz team before, but after a 111-105 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, the Jazz are finally in the win column.

It's a victory that means the Jazz are no longer the only winless team in the NBA. It also means Utah will avoid a franchise worst 0-11 that seemed to be coming with another bout of stiff competition looming in the days ahead.

"We're going to enjoy this one tonight," coach Ty Corbin said. "We've been through enough adversity thus far this year. I told the guys in there, 'Enjoy yourselves tonight. You deserve it.' These guys have been in it. They've been feeling the pressure of where we are. They all should. But enjoy it tonight."

The win came courtesy a tough performance by swingman Gordon Hayward, a night from Richard Jefferson in which the veteran looked like the small forward of old, and a surprise contribution from a player who has yet to even practice with the Jazz.

It didn't hurt, of course, that the Pelicans (now just 1-4 on the road) came into the altitude of Salt Lake City, having been blown out by the Lakers the night before in Los Angeles and looking in the later stages of Wednesday like a team playing its third game in four nights.

But that doesn't mean the Jazz win came easy.

Already up 10 points at halftime, thanks to the outside shooting of Eric Gordon and the interior play of Anthony Davis, New Orleans scored the first six points of the third quarter.

Corbin called a timeout and gathered his players.

It was Jefferson who seemed most eager to answer his coach's call.

The 33-year-old Jefferson scored nine of the Jazz's next 11 points — assisting on the only bucket he didn't score in the stretch — to cut the lead to single digits. Then it was Jefferson again, driving to the basket, and kicking out to a wide open Hayward for a corner 3 to tie the game at 70.

"I thought he was huge," Corbin said of Jefferson, who finished with a season best 22 points. "He came out of that timeout, he was aggressive for us and the guys fed off that."

Hayward himself scored 27 points. The swingman found himself sitting on the bench with an ice pack on his leg for much of the second quarter after injuring his leg in a fall.

"He wanted to come back," Corbin said. "I thought he was a little gimpy, but he wanted to stay in the game, and we needed every minute we got from him."

Hayward scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half. He also had a career-high 10 assists to go along with five rebounds.

Two nights earlier, the Jazz let a fourth-quarter lead to Denver turn into a 19-point loss. But on Wednesday, Utah stayed hot. Hayward scored 11 in the period and Marvin Williams hit a pair of 3-pointers.

The team's 38 fourth-quarter points were 25 more than they mustered in the final 12 minutes against the Nuggets.

Still the Pelicans would not fall easily.

Each time the Jazz scored, New Orleans seemed to have an answer, whether it was Davis, who finished with a game-high 29, or Jrue Holiday, or Tyreke Evans, who scored eight of his 19 in the period.

The Jazz, meanwhile, relied on point guard Diante Garrett, a D-League signing who arrived in Utah on Tuesday night and did not even participate in shootaround with the Jazz on Wednesday, to close out the game.

Garrett scored seven points and had five assists, despite saying before the game that he only knew "three or four" of the team's plays.

"We were waiting for that win," Kanter, the owner of a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double, said after the game. "Now we're just going to come out and we're going to fight. We were just so hungry for that one win, and now coach tells us it's gonna come. It's gonna come."

So are the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors and the rest of a bruising schedule that awaits a Jazz team that has been blown out more often than not this season.

So Favors, who recorded a double-double himself, smiled. He said would enjoy the night, as his coach instructed, while realizing what awaits tomorrow.

"Tonight goes by so fast," he said. "It's just one game."

afalk@sltrib.com

Jazz 111, Pelicans 105

O Wednesday's win was the first time the Jazz have topped the 100-point mark this season.

• Gordon Hayward scores 22 of his 27 points in the second half, and the Jazz shoot 51 percent from the floor to claim their first win of the year. Jazz 111, Pelicans 105

FG FT Reb

N.O. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Aminu 21:28 0-5 0-0 0-2 1 1 0

Davis 35:38 12-21 5-5 8-15 1 3 29

Smith 32:58 5-9 0-0 2-5 0 4 10

Holiday 33:48 8-12 1-1 0-3 6 3 19

Gordon 33:21 5-13 3-4 0-1 4 4 16

Amundsn 17:56 2-3 1-2 0-0 0 5 5

Rivers 13:32 0-3 0-0 0-1 3 4 0

TEvans 28:25 8-13 3-3 0-3 4 5 19

Withey 9:05 1-2 1-2 1-3 0 0 3

Morrow 13:49 1-4 2-3 0-1 0 1 4

Totals 240:00 42-85 16-20 11-34 19 30 105

Percentages: FG .494, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Gordon 3-6, Holiday 2-2, T.Evans 0-1, Morrow 0-1, Rivers 0-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 13 (19 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Aminu, Davis, T.Evans). Turnovers: 13 (Holiday 5, Amundson 2, Gordon 2, Davis, T.Evans, Rivers, Smith). Steals: 13 (Gordon 5, Aminu 2, Holiday 2, Amundson, Davis, Rivers, Smith). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 11:14 first.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Jefferson 31:56 7-11 5-6 0-3 4 3 22

Favors 31:44 5-7 2-8 5-12 2 4 12

Kanter 37:59 8-10 5-6 1-10 1 3 21

Lucas III 15:27 0-7 1-1 0-1 0 1 1

Hayward 41:58 6-12 12-14 2-5 10 1 27

Williams 26:10 5-9 0-0 5-9 0 4 12

Burks 26:47 3-10 1-2 1-3 1 3 7

Harris 6:09 0-1 2-2 0-0 0 0 2

Garrett 21:50 3-5 0-0 0-1 5 0 7

Totals 240:00 37-72 28-39 14-44 23 19 111

Percentages: FG .514, FT .718. 3-Point Goals: 9-22, .409 (Jefferson 3-4, Hayward 3-5, Williams 2-4, Garrett 1-2, Burks 0-1, Lucas III 0-6). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 21 (30 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Kanter 3, Favors 2, Hayward, Williams). Turnovers: 21 (Hayward 5, Garrett 4, Favors 3, Kanter 3, Lucas III 2, Williams 2, Burks, Jefferson). Steals: 9 (Favors 5, Hayward 2, Garrett, Harris). Technical Fouls: None.

New Orleans 29 26 22 28 — 105

Utah 22 23 28 38 — 111

Attendance • 16,717

Time • 2:15.

Officials • Derrick Stafford, Tony Brown, Mark Lindsay.