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The Jazz outlast the Hornets on a cold shooting night

After losing a big lead, the Jazz closed out a tough win

Charlotte Hornets v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

After two straight losses in which the Utah Jazz gave up leads and couldn’t quite pull through in the clutch, fans were worried it might happen again tonight against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Jazz started this game as well as you could ask for, winning the first quarter 35-16. The defense was stifling, Rudy Gobert was dominating, and the Jazz were hitting threes. Well, those threes quickly stopped going in. Utah went cold from deep and the Hornets climbed back into the game.

Rudy Gobert was a force all night, keeping Utah afloat during the cold stretches. Charlotte tried not to allow him to score inside, instead opting to foul. That proved to work in Gobert’s favor, as he went 15-16 from the free-throw line.

In the fourth quarter, Utah build the lead back up to 17 after a couple of Mike Conley threes, but the Hornets weren’t done. In the blink of an eye, they went on a 22-4 run to take the lead with 3:30 remaining. Utah’s shooting was ice cold, and Charlotte had all the momentum.

It was at this point that fans were the most worried. Would the Jazz fall apart like they’d done multiple times this year? Well, Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and the Jazz were not gonna do that again. The Jazz immediately went on a 14-3 run, and from then on it was a free-throw game. Utah wins.

This was a great win in my opinion. The Jazz shot 35% from the field and 30% from three. That’s not a bad shooting night, that’s an abysmal shooting night. All game long, open shots were just clanking off the rim. Games like that are extremely hard to win. The Jazz kept their cool, defended well throughout, dominated the glass, and trusted themselves.

Player of the game

Rudy Gobert was Utah’s best player tonight. He finished with 23 points, 21 rebounds (his 6th 20+ rebound game of the season), 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block while shooting 15-16 from the free-throw line. Rudy anchored the dominant defense, and was arguably the best offensive player as well.

Other standout performers include:

  • Bojan Bogdanovic: 23 points, 5-11 from three
  • Donovan Mitchell: 21 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds
  • Royce O’Neale: 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 points
  • Mike Conley: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

The Jazz’ next game will be on Thursday, December 23rd at 7:00 pm vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves.