Jazz slip past Pelicans for 100-96 victory
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward each scored 21 points and the Utah Jazz held off the New Orleans Pelicans 100-96 on Friday night to snap a five-game skid.
Burks had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter and Hayward added eight final-period points. The Jazz needed all of it to overcome the reeling Pelicans, who played without Anthony Davis down the stretch due to back spasms.
After two exceptional defense plays when the Pelicans forced a turnover and Greg Stiemsma blocked Burks' layup, Anthony Morrow, who had a game-high 26 points, hit a 3-pointer to draw New Orleans within 95-93.
Hayward made one of two free throws and the Pelicans drew a play that produced a wide-open shot for Darius Miller that rimmed out.
Brian Roberts made another 3 with 1.7 seconds remaining, but Hayward and Burks each made two more free throws to clinch the victory for the Jazz. Burks made all 13 of his free throw attempts.
Derrick Favors had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz.
Roberts had 18 points while Davis finished with eight points and six rebounds in 23 minutes as the Pelicans dropped their fourth straight following a five-game win streak.
The game was tight throughout, but the Jazz extended their lead to double digits near the end of the third when Hayward hit a 3 and followed with another jumper to make it 73-63.
But the Pelicans responded despite playing an unusual lineup that was sitting at the end of the bench earlier this season before the team was decimated with injuries. Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith - a group that averages nearly 60 points a game combined - all are sidelined.
New Orleans turned to Morrow, who trimmed the Jazz advantage to 82-79 on a jumper in the lane with 7:16 to play. Morrow also had a dozen points in the fourth quarter to give the Pelicans a chance.
The Jazz again built the lead to 10 points when Hayward made a pair of free throws. The Pelicans then made their last-gasp comeback that fell just short.
On one play in the third quarter, Davis blocked Favors shot and then saved the ball from going out of bounds. But as the two big men pursued the ball, Davis was sandwiched between Favors and the fans courtside. Davis gingerly ran back on offense and soon after left the court to be evaluated.
The training staff confirmed Davis had back spasms but he returned to play in the fourth quarter, but wasn't on the court when the Pelicans made their final push.
Davis played only 11 minutes against the Nuggets and his absence was felt as the Pelicans allowed season highs in points (137) and field goal shooting (56.5).
The Jazz also took advantage with 51.6 percent shooting and they got to the line 35 (making 30).
Notes: Stiemsma got a technical foul for arguing with the officials midway through the third period. ... The Pelicans have lost 12 of 15 on the road. ... After a long slump, Hayward is averaging 21 points a game in his past six.