After Gordon Hayward scored seven points over the final three minutes of the third quarter on Tuesday night, staking the Utah Jazz to an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter, they looked well on their way to a road victory.
However, over the final 12 minutes, the work down low by Anthony Davis and the three-point shooting of Ryan Anderson became too much for the Jazz to handle. The New Orleans Pelicans amassed 41 points in the final frame and sent Utah packing with a 119-111 defeat.
Gordon tallied 17 points, five assists, three rebounds and a block on the night, but was almost at a loss for words after witnessing NOLA’s fourth-quarter outburst.
“They got hot,” Gordon said. “They had Anthony Davis rolling to the rim and Ryan Anderson replacing him and Anderson made some shots. That was hard for us to cover. We just gave up way too many points. To give up 41 points in a quarter…that’s incredible.”
Davis and Anderson combined for 59 points on the night, but it was the Trey Burke show early on for Utah. The Jazz guard tallied 14 points off a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in the first, while Gordon had four points and an assist to help his squad out to a 26-20 lead after one.
The pace escalated in the second, as Anderson heated up for New Orleans. The sharpshooter knocked down two threes and totaled 12 points in the frame to get the Pelicans going. But on the other end, the Jazz had an answer inside with Enes Kanter, who tallied eight of his career-high 29 points in the second.
No. 20 played just over four minutes in the second and had two points, but he set up rookie guard Dante Exum on a key three ball to help the Jazz preserve their lead, 56-53, at halftime.
“There are so many good things about the way we played tonight,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Not just how we played, but the way we did it. We really connected at exchanges and possessions, a lot of things we’ve been working on.”
Out of the break, Kanter kept his strong night going and recorded 10 of Utah’s first 13 points in the frame. The other three came from Alec Burks—a conventional three-point play setup by G-Time. The Pelicans kept it close until No. 20 took over the game in the latter half of the third.
After hitting a pair of free throws, Gordon dished to Rodney Hood on a trifecta to stretch the lead to six. Over the final three minutes of the third, No. 20 threw down a dunk, buried a 20-foot jumper and capped a 10-2 Jazz run with a driving lay-in off a feed from Exum.
On Utah’s final possession of the quarter, Gordon nearly added a transition trey, but it rimmed out from 27 feet. Fortunately, Exum was in the right place at the right time, and threw the miss back up and in, making it 89-78 Jazz as the teams headed to their benches before the fourth quarter began.
The final frame, however, belonged decidedly to the home team.
The Pelicans hit 66.7 percent of their shots and went 4-of-4 from deep. The Jazz, meanwhile, sputtered to 29.2 percent shooting and saw their lead dwindle away.
Back-to-back buckets from Tyreke Evans gave the Pelicans a one-point advantage with 3:17 to go, and after Utah missed a chance to re-take the lead Anderson buried a triple with just inside of three minutes to go. From there, New Orleans never looked back.
“We really executed on both ends and then (New Orleans) turned it up and a couple of players, on their end, made some great plays,” Snyder said.
The Jazz shot 50 percent on the night, held the rebounding advantage and outscored NOLA in the paint, 68-54. However, the outstanding play late and the three-point shooting put the Pelicans over the edge.
“I think it was the defense,” said Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who started for the second-straight game. “Offensively, we stopped moving the ball in the last few minutes. We took bad shots, we stopped moving the ball, and it just wasn’t good.”
The good news for the Jazz (6-19) is that they’ll have a quick chance to bounce back from the late collapse in New Orleans as they finish off their Southeastern back-to-back with a trip to Miami where they’ll face the Heat (12-13) on Wednesday night.
The game is a rematch of a meeting between the two squads just last Friday in Utah, a game that saw the the Jazz put up a great fight against the four-time defending Eastern Conference Champions but fall just short in a 100-95 loss. Gordon had 18 points and eight boards in that contest, but the Heat pulled off the narrow victory behind 29 points from Dwyane Wade.
Tipoff of the rematch from Miami’s American Airlines Arena is set for 5:30 p.m. MT and Root Sports will have the local broadcast.
- Davis returns, Pelicans edge Jazz 119-111 (AP, Dec. 16, 2014)
- Jazz at Pelicans: Game Book (NBA.com, Dec. 16, 2014)
- Behind stellar fourth, New Orleans runs over Utah (Deseret News, Dec. 16, 2014)
- Jazz fall flat in NOLA during fourth quarter meltdown (Deseret News, Dec. 16, 2014)
- Utah Jazz lose to New Orleans Pelicans (Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 16, 2014)
- Jazz lead for 40 minutes, then Davis crashes the party (SLC Dunk, Dec. 16, 2014)