Just a day after giving a fine perforance in a victory over Memphis, the Jazz (14-13) turned in an awful effort in an 86-80 loss at New Orleans (5-23) Monday night. Utah committed 20 turnovers as Hornets center Chris Kaman shredded the Utah defense with 27 points.
Guards: Devin Harris gave one of his worst performances of the season, scoring two points and dishing four assists while committing three turnovers. Earl Watson also registered three miscues as he played nearly nine more minutes than the starter Harris. Meanwhile, New Orleans point guard Greivis Vasquez scored 12 points and registered 10 assists. Raja Bell scored 11 points and went 3-for-4 from the 3-point line while helping to hold his counterpart, Marco Belinelli, to 3-for-13 shooting from the floor. GRADE: C-
Forwards: Just one day after combining for 39 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap combined for just 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting with five turnovers. Derrick Favors played more than Millsap in this contest and he was solid, scoring 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting in 26 minutes. But the Hornets' Gustavo Ayon, a 4.6 points-per-game scorer, scored 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds. GRADE: D+
Centers: Al Jefferson scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but was thoroughly dominated by Kaman, whose 27 points came on an effective 12-for-22 shooting from the field. The former Central Michigan star, who came into the game averaging 9.6 points per game, also had 13 boards. Enes Kanter played nearly as much as Jefferson in this contest and did better than the starter defensively, nabbing 12 rebounds in 22 minutes. GRADE: C-
Bench: This game was so ugly that Alec Burks, who has been seldom-used in recent weeks, played 14 minutes while managing to get to the charity stripe five times, going 7-for-10 for nine total points. C.J. Miles was a mess, shooting 1-for-8 and 0-for-4 from distance. Encouraging performances by Kanter and Favors salvaged the performance of the reserves who outscored their counterparts 41-12. GRADE: B
Overall: The poor play of the Utah starting front line was particularly concerning against a team that had lost eight games in a row and is clearly still finding its way without superstar Chris Paul. We'll see if the Jazz provide an effort Wednesday against Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City that more closely resembles Sunday's against Memphis or if they truly are continuing a downward slide that includes six losses in the last eight games. Grade: C-
Rhett Wilkinson is a journalism and speech communications major at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at [email protected] or at Twitter: wilklogan