Jefferson scores 26 as Jazz defeat Bobcats 112-102
Al Jefferson had 26 points and eight rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Charlotte Bobcats 112-102 Wednesday night for their fourth win in five games.
Jefferson was 11 of 15 from the field and the Bobcats simply had no answer for the 6-foot-10 center in the paint.
Paul Millsap chipped in with 19 points and Gordon Hayward was 4 of 5 from 3-point range for 14 points as the Jazz made light work of the Bobcats' zone defense, shooting 54 percent from the field.
Utah led from the opening tip, building a 19-point halftime lead. The Jazz (19-18) never allowed the Bobcats to get any closer than 10 in the second half and moved back above .500.
Ben Gordon led six Bobcats in double figures, scoring 20 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker each had 14 points for the Bobcats (9-25).
The Bobcats came in feeling confident, having won two of three since their 18-game losing streak. But once again they struggled coming out of the blocks.
The Jazz outscored the Bobcats 29-11 in the final six minutes of the first half to take a 19-point lead into the locker room.
They did it with five 3-pointers — two each by Randy Foye and Hayward — during one 4 ½-minute span.
The Jazz hit 10 of 22 from 3-point range.
Alex Burks chipped in with 14 points and DeMarre Carroll and Derrick Favors each had 10 for the Jazz. Favors hit all five shots from the field.
Jamaal Tinsley had nine points and eight assists to go along with his two steals for Utah.
Whenever Charlotte tried to make a run, the Jazz had a quick answer.
Most of the time that meant getting the ball down low to Jefferson, Millsap and Favors, who had little problem scoring against Charlotte's big men Brendan Haywood and Bismack Biyombo. Together that trio was a combined 24 of 30 from the field.
Jefferson had all his points in the first three quarters and didn't play much down the stretch as the Jazz didn't particularly need his services with the game mostly out of hand.
Two Charlotte starters — Biyombo and Tyrus Thomas — did not score, and rookie Jeffery Taylor only managed six points.
Charlotte's bench outscored its starters 67-35.
NOTES: Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap decided to bench Henderson in favor of the Taylor. ... The Bobcats continue to be without center Byron Mullens, who remains out with an ankle injury.