Paradoxically, the Utah Jazz had no business winning and also losing this game to the Charlotte Hornets in double overtime, 124-119. The Hornets and Jazz are both down with injuries to key players. But Utah had been playing well enough over the last 10 games, where as Charlotte was 1-9 and looking very bad. When they stepped out on the court the Hornets looked like they just wanted it more and built a first quarter lead and extended it to nine points at half time. Utah did not make a push at all in the third quarter and this game looked over. Of course, because of course they would, the Jazz finally played like they cared and made up the difference with scrappy play and questionable offensive possessions. When the game was close in regulation they squandered a lot of possessions by opting for a three pointer when none were actually called for. Furthermore, they had a hard time collecting 50/50 balls. These are the things you need to close out games -- offensive discipline, and the desire to win every loose ball.
The Jazz did send the game to overtime off of a Trey Burke three pointer. And then in the first extra frame were up by four points. The Jazz would then go 1-7 over the next few minutes and need a worrying few minutes trying to recover and send the game to double OT -- off of a thunderous dunk by Rudy Gobert. In the second extra frame Charlotte would end up going full Kemba, and he predated upon pick and roll plays, and whatever he didn't do, Mar-V-P did. Effectively Utah lost this game to two guys in overtime. (And some Cody Zeller play for loose balls and drawing fouls.)
Kemba Walker had a historic 52 points tonight, a Hornets all-time single game high score -- and potentially an MLK day record as well. He was able to get what he wanted, especially by drawing so many fouls and making the most of his FTA going 14 of 15 from there. Walker also had 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals. It was a monster game. Jeremy Lin was handcuffed in the late fourth, and both overtimes by Trey Burke. But as much as you want to give credit to the other team for winning, I have the nagging feeling that this Utah Jazz team is beating themselves.
Hayward had a bad turn over instead of taking an open three pointer. He also was called for having one foot out of bounds on another play where he was actually going to take the three pointer. For his efforts these are the plays we fans will remember, instead of the key assists he had to Burke, Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert to keep the Jazz in the game / extend the game.
Utah should have won this one. Charlotte was without Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- and went to double OT while playing only 9 different guys. Yes, Utah was without Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and Dante Exum, but c'mon. The Hornets? We're not talking about Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson here. We're talking about Frank Kaminsky coming off the bench to score 17.
- Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 36 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block.
- Rudy Gobert had 14 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.
- Trey Burke had 25 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal
- Trevor Booker had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block
- Rodney Hood had 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists
- Trey Lyles had 5 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks
I think Lyles should have played more down the stretch and in crunch time than Booker. But Quin Snyder trusts the vet more than the rook right now, and that makes sense. Trey Burke and Rodney Hood combined to shoot 5 for 19 from deep. That's kind of the game there.
Losing by 5 in double OT isn't good. It's really bad when you had the lead in OT and gave it away to a bad team that's injured and had won only one game in their last ten tries. But this is what you get when you sleepwalk through the first 36 minutes of a game.
Jazz earned this loss. They should have won the game though.
We'll always have this mascot reaction shot though.
And this shoe flip.
Kemba Walker - 50 points, innovative defensive technique pic.twitter.com/ENvyEDJ9Wd— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 18, 2016
Utah continues their Eastern Conference road trip, and will play this Wednesday against the New York Knicks.