Charlotte, N.C. • Maybe Kyle Korver’s return really did change these Jazz.
On a night where nearly one-half (40 of 81) of the Jazz’s shot attempts were threes, they knocked nearly one-half (18 of 40) of them down. Led by one likely sharpshooter (Korver), and one unlikely one (Jae Crowder), the Jazz came out with a 119-111 win over Charlotte at the Spectrum Center.
Korver, in his debut, came into the game late in the first quarter and made an immediate impact, nailing a tough three just 12 seconds into his shift. But Korver’s night of long-range accuracy wasn’t done: he made three more 3-point shots throughout the night, finishing with 14 points on 5-7 shooting from the field overall.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. I knew what I was doing maybe a quarter of the time,” Korver said.
But while he may have been lost at times on the court, Korver’s immediate acceptance into the locker room perhaps helped made him comfortable enough to keep the shooting going in his first game with a new team.
“It’s a really cool group,” Korver said in a postgame interview. Just then, Donovan Mitchell interjected. “We appreciate it!”
Korver laughed and continued. “This is a really good locker room. Guys get along well. It’s real, it’s genuine. You’re not trying to force conversations. It just kind of flows. It’s fun to get to know guys if guys want to talk and connect. It feels like a group.”
One of Korver’s old teammates in Cleveland, Crowder, also had a spectacular shooting night from three, nailing 6 of his 10 shots, even hitting some tough looks. Meanwhile, Mitchell attacked the rim, benefitting from the space the accurate shooting provided. Mitchell finished with 30 points, but also contributed by finding his teammates for six assists and six rebounds.
Rudy Gobert continued his solid play with an impactful game: a second consecutive contest with four blocks, plus 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Unusually, the Jazz got out to a bright start, leading the Hornets 11-2 powered by solid defense and attacking the rim without committing turnovers. And that continued through the first quarter and early through the second, eventually giving the Jazz a 16-point lead.
But the NBA is a game of runs, and the Hornets came back to tie the game at 64 early in the 3rd. That’s when the Jazz went on the signature run of the game, a 15-2 spurt characterized by that new dimension — made 3-point shots — that gave them a lead they’d never relinquish. What’s more, they came without Korver on the floor.
And they kept that run going through continued challenges from the Hornets late.
Tony Parker’s all-small bench units found particular success, and Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb were dangerous as well. It was enough to make Jazz coach Quin Snyder a little sour after the contest, in true coach fashion. “I’m glad the ball went in, but we need to keep getting stops,” Snyder said.
Given how many losses the Jazz have had due to poor outside shooting, maybe they were just due for this, a win that came because of the ball swishing through the net.
Turning point • After the Hornets came all the way back from a 16-point deficit, an immediate 15-2 Jazz run in the third quarter put Utah in front for good.
Key Number • The Jazz outscored Charlotte 54-27 at the 3-point line, thanks to hot shooting from Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder.
What’s next • The Jazz take on the Miiami Heat on Sunday at 4 p.m. MT to wrap up the 3-game road trip.