The Charlotte Bobcats had won a mere five games coming into Wednesday’s match-up with the visiting Utah Jazz. And it showed. In a relatively undemanding game, Utah moved back to .500 by defeating the Bobcats 99-93. The score was not indicative of the ease of the victory.
The game was close the first two quarters, but a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Devin Harris gave the Jazz a 51-47 halftime lead, a lead they did not relinquish for the rest of the evening. The third quarter was particularly pivotal, as Utah hustled, passed the ball, played solid defense, and shot well. Utah outscored Charlotte 29-17 in the third period.
Utah did not shoot well (a mere 44.8 percent from the floor and 1 of 7 from three-point territory), but controlled the glass, outrebounding Charlotte 43-34. This included 16 offensive rebounds.
Utah moves to 2-1 on their current five-game road trip heading into Friday’s outing versus the Philadelphia 76’ers.
Frontcourt Dominance: While their entire roster struggles, the Charlotte frontcourt is especially lacking. Conversely, Utah’s big man rotation is one of the NBA’s finest. You can guess how things turned out. While Bobcats center Byron Mullens finished with 16 points, starters Bismack Biyombo and D.J. White had just two points apiece. Eduardo Najera was held scoreless.
Meanwhile Al Jefferson had his second consecutive monster game, padding the stat sheet in impressive fashion: 31 points, nine rebounds, and five assists (after handing out seven Monday). It was a very welcome sight to see the Jazz center get to the line 10 times, hitting nine (Jefferson averages just 3.1 attempts per game).
Paul Millsap had a solid performance with 16 points, five rebounds and two steals. Derrick Favors was very active, producing 14 points and five boards in just 18 minutes. His defense was sharp, as well.
Add in Enes Kanter’s three points and Utah’s bigs outscored their Charlotte counterparts 64-20.
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- Devin Harris played through his knee injury to post a solid nine point, four assist and four rebound effort.
- Utah had another great assist-to-turnover ratio, distributing 24 dimes with just 13 miscues.
- NCAA tournament hero Kemba Walker was a bright spot for Charlotte, slicing and dicing his way to 19 points off the bench.
- C.J. Miles had his second back-to-back scoreless outing, earning just eight minutes of playing time each game.
- Josh Howard fouled Corey Maggette twice on three-point attempts Wednesday.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.