SALT LAKE CITY, U.T. (AP) — Quin Snyder was not thrilled with the urgency of his team.
The Utah Jazz gave up 38 points in the third quarter before deciding to pick up the defense and execute a ferocious comeback.
Gordon Hayward scored 33 points and the Jazz rallied to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 105-98 on Saturday night.
”There’s an urgency we had when we got behind,” Snyder said. ”We get to a point where we’re not playing well for a while and then it kicks in and the level raises. We have to do a better job of maintaining that, or reaching that or at least approaching that during the guts of the game. Not just at the end of the game.
”You can look at it one way and say we gave up 38 in the third quarter or say we gave up 16 in the fourth. The fact that there’s such a disparity, to me, points to just focus and mental concentration.”
The Jazz erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit with big contributions from Hayward, George Hill and Joe Johnson. A 21-4 run was capped by Johnson’s 3-pointer from the corner that gave the Jazz a 103-96 lead with 59 seconds remaining. Hayward put on a show with a variety of step-backs and pull-ups and Johnson was a playmaker down the stretch. Hill finished with 25, including five 3-pointers.
”(Hill and Johnson) just makes it easier on me,” Hayward said. ”Defense can’t just focus in and they were both terrific tonight. Joe, specifically, the past two games has been a playmaker for us.
”George was almost as efficient as can be. It seemed like every one was a dagger for us.”
The Hornets put on a shooting clinic from behind the arc in the third quarter, but went cold in the fourth and scored just 16 points.
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 18 points, and Marvin Williams added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Frank Kaminsky finished with 15 points.
The Jazz went into halftime with a 52-44 lead after trailing by double-digits in the first quarter. Dante Exum scored nine points during a 15-0 run that gave the Jazz their first lead of the game at 31-28. They closed the half with a 9-2 run highlighted by Hayward’s alley-oop from Exum.
”I think we’re sixth in fourth-quarter offense in the league, but we’re 19th or 20th in fourth-quarter defense,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. ”Our first few years we were top five.
”Our fourth-quarter defense has been our biggest problem.”
Hornets: Walker is dealing with an illness and did not practice Wednesday, but played. … Charlotte was outrebounded 51-38.
Jazz: Joe Ingles and Boris Diaw started. It was the first time they started with alongside Hayward, George Hill and Rudy Gobert this season. … Rodney Hood missed his third straight game with a right knee bone contusion and LCL sprain. He will be re-evaluated next week.
Jazz forward Derrick Favors was back on the court after missing the last two games to rest. He’s been dealing with a left knee injury since December.
”I think he’s found a rhythm at various times,” Snyder said. ”Sometimes the wear and tear of the season is just something you have to manage.
”Sometimes it’s just a question of getting re-focused and taking a couple days and you’re good to go.”
Miles Plumlee played his first game with the Hornets after being traded from the Bucks for Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert on Thursday despite not having practiced with the team yet. Clifford hopes he can fill a similar role that the injured Cody Zeller (quad contusion) held.
”I’m hoping that he can play similar to how he did in Phoenix that year, he was really good,” Clifford said. ”Basket protection. He’s very good laterally. He brings versatility to what you can do in your pick-and-roll defense. He’s got a good idea of how to use the verticality rules, but he’s also quick enough to get out and be more aggressive on the ball.”
”I don’t know, but we have to figure it out,” Hornets forward Nicolas Batum said about the fourth quarter. ”We have to stop that because we do a great job for three quarters and then we have to figure it out.”
Hornets: hosts a Brooklyn Nets team that has lost eight straight on Tuesday.
Jazz: travels to face the Atlanta Hawks and the red-hot Tim Hardaway Jr. on M