SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz faced another must-win situation Friday night — this time against the New Orleans Hornets. Despite producing another below-average offensive performance, the Jazz prevailed 95-83. Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap had good games while the Jazz did just enough collectively to win.
GUARDS: It takes good guard play to beat good teams, and luckily for the Jazz, New Orleans is not a very good team. Mo Williams and Randy Foye both finished with eight points and four assists. Their shot attempts were much better as well as Williams went 3 of 8 while Foye shot 3 of 9. Williams did not play that great defensively for much of the game and Grievis Vasquez torched him for 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting. GRADE: C+.
FORWARDS: Hayward had a great night with 23 points on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point land and 9-of-18 shooting overall. Paul Millsap flirted with a triple-double for the second time in three games as he finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Six of Millsap’s rebounds came off the offensive glass. Millsap did struggle to guard a much longer Anthony Davis, who finished with 24 points. GRADE: B+.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson did not reach a double-double and did not score 20 points. Jefferson did score 14 points and grab five rebounds. Jefferson’s biggest victory of the night was holding Robin Lopez to his season average of 12 points per game. Lopez had been averaging 17 points per game against the Jazz this season. GRADE: A-.
BENCH: The New Orleans bench scored 11 points while shooting a collective 2 of 25 from the field. Even on nights when the Jazz bench struggles, it rarely dips that low. Derrick Favors finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll had the next-best performance with six points, three rebounds and three assists. GRADE: B.
OVERALL: The Jazz absolutely needed the win against New Orleans in order to stay in the playoff hunt. It was not pretty and there may have been a slight hangover from the Denver loss, but the Jazz did just enough to get the victory. GRADE: B+.
Tyler Huskinson is a freelance journalist who loves to cover sports. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @TDHuskiSports.