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Utah Jazz: In need of a win, Jefferson and Millsap provide one
Utah Jazz's Jamaal Tinsley, right, knocks the ball from New Orleans Hornets' Greivis Vasquez (21) in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' Greivis Vasquez (21), of Venezuela, drives around Utah Jazz's Jamaal Tinsley (6)in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis (23) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) and Marvin Williams (2) watch in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Utah Jazz's Marvin Williams (2) blocks the shot of New Orleans Hornets' Greivis Vasquez (21), of Venezuela, in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' Ryan Anderson (33) shoots as Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) defends in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors (15) passes the ball against New Orleans Hornets' Greivis Vasquez (21), of Venezuela, in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors (15) dunks the ball as New Orleans Hornets' Ryan Anderson (33) watches in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' Robin Lopez (15) fouls Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis, right, forces a jump ball with Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Hornets 104-99. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis, left, and Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap, front left, follow a jump ball as New Orleans Hornets' Robin Lopez, center rear and Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) watches in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City.  The Jazz defeated the Hornets 104-99. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) shoots as New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis (23) watches in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Hornets 104-99. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
New Orleans Hornets' head coach Monty Williams shouts to his team in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Hornerts 104-99. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

In the brightly lit locker room, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap sit and joke and get dressed in front of adjacent wooden lockers along the back wall. One sits quietly and listens to music. The other barks out jokes and directions at younger players.

The two men anchor the center of the room, the place where, if you were to think of the Utah Jazz as a single living unit, the heart would go. From here, all things are spawned. When the Jazz lose, this is where critics point and talk like no one can hear them.

And while speculation is rampant over whether one of the two veterans will be traded, or whether either will re-sign in the offseason or whether the Jazz even want them back, they are, for now, also the cornerstones of a team that on Wednesday, was in desperate need of a win.

Despite a sluggish start Wednesday, they got it.

The Jazz (25-21) beat the 15-31 New Orleans Hornets 104-99, and improved to 5-1 in games where the two big men each score 20 or more points.

Millsap led all scorers with 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Jefferson added 22 points in front of a season-low 17,490 fans at EnergySolutions Arena.

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“We’re two of the leaders on this team,” Millsap said. “We’ve got to take it upon ourselves to get this team going, no matter what that is. It’s scoring, rebounding getting defensive stops, we’ve got to be the backbone of it.”

The Jazz were coming off one of the worst losses in franchise history, a 48-minute highlight reel for the Houston Rockets that left the Jazz on the wrong end of a 125-80 result.

“It feels good to get a win after the performance the other night,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “With all the pressure of the other evening and the performance we laid out there, to come in and just continue to fight.”

The Jazz played their second straight game without Gordon Hayward (sprained shoulder) but were buoyed by strong performances from Derrick Favors (15 points, six rebounds) and Alec Burks (eight points in 16 minutes, including several playing point guard in the fourth quarter). That pair provided a glimpse of what the Jazz hope is an exciting future.

But Wednesday was about leadership, and the veterans that weren’t going to stand to let Monday’s turmoil spill over to another game.

“I don’t even remember the other night,” Jefferson joked. “Don’t know what you’re talking about. I was watching Monday Night Raw.”

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Millsap, Jefferson combine for 47 points in Utah’s win.

At a glance

Jazz 104, Hornets 99

O The Jazz recover from a 45-point loss Monday to beat the Hornets.

» The Jazz are 5-1 in games in which Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both score 20 or more points.

» Point guard Greivis Vasquez records 17 points and 13 assists to lead the Hornets.


 
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