The Utah Jazz are on a roll like they haven’t been in years, and on Monday night, they put together one of their most convincing wins in years to improve to 30-36.
Gordon Hayward put up 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and a block as his Jazz absolutely manhandled the Charlotte Hornets on both ends of the floor at EnergySolutions Arena. Utah held Charlotte to a paltry 23-for-78 from the field while hitting just about everything it took from three-point range en route to a 94-66 rout.
“When we were up like 80-37 that’s where you kind of look up like, `Man, I didn’t know we were up this much.’ It started to get a little crazy, especially when we kept hitting three after three early in the first half,” G-Time said. “It was fun, man.”
The Jazz shot 15-for-24 from distance, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story of how incredible Gordon and his teammates were from beyond the arc on Monday.
Dante Exum missed a three about a minute into the game, but the Jazz would then go on to make their next 11 attempts from deep. They finished with eight threes (on just nine attempts) in the first quarter and 12 (on 15 attempts) in the first half, both of which were franchise records. By the end of the game, the Jazz had gone cold, relatively speaking, and shot just 3-for-9 from distance in the second half. The 15 made threes in the game tied a franchise record.
For his part, G-Time went 3-for-5 from downtown, but he said he’d never seen anything like what happened Monday night in Salt Lake City.
“That was pretty special,” he said about the barrage. “It’s a lot more fun when the whole team’s hitting and guys are just stepping up, making big-time shots, we’re getting stops defensively. We played really well tonight.”
No. 20 played just 27 minutes due to the one-sided nature of the contest, and he sat out the entire fourth quarter as the Jazz went just 3-for-17 and allowed Charlotte to narrow the gap slightly. Utah scored a season-high 61 points in the first half and led by as many as 31, then, playing mostly reserves, led by as many as 44 points in the second half.
In a performance as dominant as this one, team play was necessary, and the Jazz had it in bundles.
Burke 2/2 #CHAatUTA
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 17, 2015
Gordon Hayward leads everyone with 11…Dante Exum has 9, Rudy Gobert has seven rebounds…while Charlotte has 8 as a team
— Tony Jones (@Tjonessltrib) March 17, 2015
Exum-Hood-Hayward-Favors-Gobert: 110.8 Ortg, 86.9 Drtg. SSS still, but growing. And those numbers are insane.
— Ben Dowsett (@Ben_Dowsett) March 17, 2015
Rising star center Rudy Gobert grabbed 22 rebounds and now has an astonishing 63 boards in his last three games. Rookie guard Rodney Hood went 5-for-5 from deep and scored 24 points to set a new career high for the third time in four games and the Jazz starters outscored the entire Hornets team 72-66.
Gordon made sure to sing the praises of the young guard who has missed 29 games this season but has really hit his stride of late.
“He played tremendous tonight,” Gordon said of Hood after the game. “He really read the defense well. They went under, he made them pay. They went over, he kept them on his hip and hit the two-point shot or made the right pass. He really played well tonight and he’s a good, young player, for sure.”
G-Time and Exum were the big catalysts for the Jazz, as they combined for 20 of Utah’s 30 points in the first quarter and went 6-for-7 from beyond the arc in the period. In contrast, Charlotte scored just 16 points in the quarter and shot just 1-for-6 from three-point range.
But teams don’t cruise to a 28-point victory simply because of hot shooting. The Jazz held the Hornets to a season-low 66 points, a total Utah reached less than three minutes into the second half, and the defense never let up.
Gordon started things off for the Jazz on defense, refusing to back down to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on a fast break and ended up rejecting the young forward’s layup attempt.
Gordon Hayward with a nice block of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist there. What might have been in Charlotte.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) March 17, 2015
Do people outside the Jazz fanbase have any idea how amazing Gordon Hayward is in one-on-one transition situations?
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) March 17, 2015
Hornets fans were likely pained by that play, as Gordon almost played for Charlotte this season. Ultimately, the Jazz matched the offer that Charlotte offered G-Time, and it’s safe to say they haven’t regretted it for a second.Just to be sure, No. 20 caught Kidd-Gilchrist late in the first half with a sweet move in the post, then drained a turnaround jumper on him.
Gordon Hayward just put a nasty move on MKG for the bucket #CHAatUTA
— SL Tribune Sports (@sltribsports) March 17, 2015
Though the Jazz were obviously content with the lopsided victory, they aren’t dwelling on their success and are instead doing whatever they can to keep the streak alive.
“I think we just take it game-by-game,” Gordon told reporters after the game. “This was a good win for us and we’ll probably feel how good it was tonight, and then come back tomorrow and get ready to go back to work. I think it’s one of those things where we just look at it like next game up, it’s a different game, different players, different game plan. I think for the most part, everybody’s really doing whatever they can to help us win.”
The Jazz will have their hands full when they host the resurgent Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. At 39-28, Washington has had one of its best seasons in years, though the team endured a rocky stretch after the All Star break.
The Wizards appear to be back on track, however, and are riding a four-game win streak into Wednesday night’s showdown. The Jazz fell in D.C. the first time around, when Gordon put up 16 points in a 93-84 loss.
G-Time will likely be given the unenviable task of trying to mark Paul Pierce, the future Hall of Famer who is 15th all-time in NBA scoring. Pierce has turned up his game in recent weeks and is starting to find a rhythm from three-point range, as are the rest of the Wizards’ shooters, so this game could quickly evolve into a shootout.
However, both teams pride themselves on their defense and are among the league leaders in points allowed per game; Utah paces the league, allowing just 95.1 points per game, while Washington is eighth at 97.3 per game.
The game is set for a 9:30 p.m. MT tip and can be seen locally on Root Sports.
- Jazz rout Hornets with three-point shooting exhibition (ESPN, March 16, 2015)
- Gordon Hayward postgame interview (NBA.com, March 16, 2015)
- Jazz don’t treat Hornets kindly at home (SLC Dunk, March 16, 2015)
- Utah’s defense keying victories (SLC Dunk, March 16, 2015)
- Gordon Hayward shows Charlotte what it missed out on (SLC Dunk, March 16, 2015