Banged-up Utah Jazz outlast Charlotte Hornets, 111-102, for fifth straight win

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) guards Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb (3), in NBA action between the Utah Jazz and the Charlotte Hornets, in Salt Lake City, Monday, April 1, 2019.

With Derrick Favors (back spasms) and Kyle Korver (sore right knee) both unavailable for Monday night’s game, the Jazz sometimes had to resort to a second-unit lineup of Ekpe Udoh-Georges Niang-Jae Crowder-Joe Ingles-Raul Neto that was, to put it charitably, offense-deficient.

The Charlotte Hornets’ making just 1 of their first 21 attempts from 3-point range, however, made whatever occasional inadequacies Utah had scoring the ball virtually irrelevant.

Needless to say, the Jazz were efficient enough the rest of the time and had plenty points in the end to dispatch Charlotte (in spite of a second-half explosion from All-Star guard Kemba Walker), prevailing 111-102 for their fifth straight win overall and their 10th in 11 games.

Utah is now 47-30 on the season.

While coach Quin Snyder likes to note that the Jazz’s stingy defense usually facilitates their best offense, he suggested this particular affair may have flipped things around for once.

“As much as anything, us executing on the offensive end — when we were able to do that, we were able to set our defense and be better,” he said.

That was the case for most of the evening, anyway.

Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 23 points (adding five assists and four steals), and the Jazz got double-doubles from Rudy Gobert (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Ricky Rubio (20 points, 13 assists).

Joe Ingles added 15 points (making 5 of 8 from deep), five rebounds, and four assists, while Thabo Sefolosha, who got almost 23 minutes off the short-handed bench, hit 5 of 6 shots — including 4 of 5 from deep — for a season-high 14 points.

As a result, Charlotte scored just 23, 16, and 25 points in each of the first three quarters, respectively, and trailed by as many as 20 points.

“It’s one thing to keep running back in transition, but it’s different when we keep making shots and they gotta play against our halfcourt defense,” Mitchell said.

To that effect, Utah converted its field-goal attempts at a 48.1% clip, had 30 assists on 38 made baskets, and drained 15 shots from deep (making 42.9%).

The Hornets, on the other hand, were shooting just 37.5% after the first quarter, 29.8% at halftime, and 33.8% after three.

The reason it wound up being not quite that ugly is because of Walker.

The point guard recovered from a nine-point first-half start to pour in 38 of his 47 points after the break for the Hornets, who wound up converting 13 of 22 shots in the final 12 minutes for a 38-point period.

Still, in the end, Charlotte made just 40% of its shots overall, and finished 7 of 30 from deep, and whatever scoring histrionics Walker racked up, they were never enough to put the game in jeopardy late.

“We limited their shots and they got hot late, and fortunately we had a big enough lead to withstand that,” Mitchell said. “It’s gonna happen, so you continue just to guard and do your thing.”

It remains to be seen, meanwhile, if Utah’s depth can withstand further depletion. Crowder suffered a quad injury late in the third quarter and did not return.

His teammates said it’s incumbent upon everyone still capable of playing to pick up the slack.

“We’re getting connected, and that’s great — even with guys out,” said Rubio. “Everybody’s stepping in and doing their job and raising the level even more.”


• Donovan Mitchell has 25 points, five assists, and four steals, as Utah wins for the 10th time in 11 games.

• Utah’s defense contributes to Charlotte making just 1 of its first 21 attempts from deep. The Hornets finish 7 for 30 from beyond the arc.

• Kemba Walker scores 38 of his 47 points after halftime, including 22 in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz’s lead is never in doubt.

hat’s a great accomplishment.”

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