Utah Jazz: Jazz hope comeback win over New Orleans leads to further success
Rick Bowmer, AP
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz were outscored by 128 points during a stretch that started just before halftime of the Houston game and ended in the third quarter Wednesday.
That staggering slump began with the Jazz leading the Rockets by 19 points a week ago Saturday and mercifully concluded when Utah found itself down by 16 against New Orleans.
Those rocky times included six double-digit losses and a few hundred frustrating minutes of basketball for the Jazz and their fans.
Just as blowing a big lead against Houston sent Utah into a tailspin, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is hopeful his team’s come-from-behind efforts in the 111-105 win over the Pelicans will send the squad in a positive direction.
“When the guys win and feel some success, then they tend to be a little bit more focused on the thing. They tend to believe a little bit more in each other and themselves,” Corbin said. “We’re looking to move on from here. I thought the effort (Wednesday) night and the focus was really good of the entire group.”
From 20-plus-point nights from Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Richard Jefferson, a season-best outing by Marvin Williams and Diante Garrett’s fun debut, the Jazz experienced their best offensive output of the season in a variety of ways.
Utah’s 111 points, 51.4 percent shooting and six-point victory margin, of course, were all season highs.
“It feels good, especially for the guys,” Corbin said. “They’ve been working their butts off so hard and have just been coming up short.”
Spirits, at least, were higher in Jazzland after the team won for the first time after eight straight losses to begin the 2013-14 season.
Corbin also thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the game tape, including what was happening on and off the court.
“It’s great watching the film and watching the bench reaction of the guys getting in and supporting each other to get a win for us,” he said. “It was great to see.”
It was especially great to watch after Corbin called a timeout a minute and a half into the third quarter after the Jazz fell behind 61-45 and seemed en route to a ninth-straight loss.
For the first time this season, Utah played clutch down the stretch, including an impressive 38-28 fourth quarter.
GOOD STRETCH: Marvin Williams had struggled from the field in his return from offseason Achilles surgery until Wednesday when he hit 5 of 9 shots, including two 3-pointers. He gave Utah valuable minutes as a stretch four, and Corbin loved how the 6-9 forward “can space the floor” while playing alongside one of the Jazz bigs.
“As he’s getting more and more healthy and feels good about his body and is assured he’s OK, he’s getting better every time out,” Corbin said. “He’ll play better. I thought he did a great job for us.”
NOTES: Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward did not practice Thursday because of a bruised right shin. He is a game-time decision Friday against the Spurs. Hayward is averaging 20.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals in his fourth season. Corbin didn’t divulge who will start at point guard vs. San Antonio. John Lucas III started the game but missed all six 3-point attempts and was benched in the second half. Alec Burks started the second half at point, but newcomer Garrett also played big minutes at the position in his first game.
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