Bobcats lose late again to Jazz
Trey Burke beat the shot clock on a driving layup with 19 seconds left and scored 21 points to power the Utah Jazz past the Charlotte Bobcats 83-80 on Monday night.
Matched against another 6-foot-1 sparkplug in Kemba Walker, Burke faked a shot, hesitated and drove the right side of the lane, releasing the ball just before the shot clock buzzer to give the Jazz a three-point lead in the closing moments of an often listless contest.
Alec Burks had 14 points, and Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams added 13 apiece to carry the Jazz to their 10th straight win over the Bobcats.
Gerald Henderson had 19 points, none in the fourth quarter, and Al Jefferson and Walker both scored 18 in the Bobcats' first stop on a four-game Western Conference swing.
The Jazz held Charlotte to 37 percent shooting and spoiled Jefferson's return to Utah, where he spent the last three seasons.
The Bobcats, unable to sustain any offensive efficiency all night, suddenly found some accuracy in the fourth quarter. Walker scored five straight points in a 7-0 run that brought Charlotte to 63-60 but then missed a couple of jump shots.
After seven misses to start the final period, Burke finally scored for the Jazz on a jumper from the wing. Josh McRoberts' acrobatic tip-in tied the game at 65 with 5:58 to play.
The Bobcats took their first lead since the first quarter at 77-76 after Ramon Sessions was blocked from behind by Gordon Hayward on a fast break and Walker put the ball back up and in.
Hayward drove and bounced a pass to Favors for a dunk. After Jefferson came up short on a baby hook, Burke drove the lane and just beat the shot clock with a layup to give the Jazz an 80-77 lead.
The Jazz clinched the game at the line on successive rebound fouls, with Favors making one and Hayward converting a pair with 2.8 seconds left. Jefferson made a half-court shot at the buzzer for the final margin.
After a 1-14 start to the season, the Jazz have gotten healthier and Burke has brought some stability to Utah's offense. The Jazz are 6-5 in their last 11 games.
On the other side, the Bobcats have been close in several games but unable to close them out. Their last six losses have come by an average of 3.3 points. They have lost four of five overall and now face three more Western Conference teams, against whom they are 0-4 on the road.
Walker has shot 16 of 54 in the past three games but seemed determined to make a difference down the stretch. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Burke countered on the other end.
The Jazz beat the Bobcats 88-85 on Dec. 21 in a very similar matchup in which both teams seemed to be going through the motions for much of the game.
NOTES: Jefferson received a warm round of applause during introductions, greeted all of the scorers' table personnel and hugged Jazz CEO Greg Miller in the front row. . Hayward picked up two fouls in the first 4 minutes. . Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, injured Dec. 3, had the cast removed from his left hand last week but has not been cleared to practice. . The Jazz are 9-7 when Williams starts and 1-17 when he doesn't.