NEW ORLEANS — Just back from a tough road trip, the New Orleans Hornets were glad to be home Wednesday night.
However, waiting were the Utah Jazz, a team that had a score to settle with the Hornets, who had beaten them on a last-second shot the first time the teams met, also at New Orleans Arena, earlier in November.
This time, the Jazz (9-7) made sure there would be no late heroics by the Hornets, taking a 96-84 victory, its fifth win in six games.
It was the eighth loss in nine games for the Hornets (4-10), coming after a road win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
“We felt we let one get away from us the last time,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin of the Hornets’ 88-86 victory on Nov. 2.
That was evident in the intensity the Jazz brought, using post-ups to center Al Jefferson and backdoor cuts, as well as stifling man-to-man defense, winning easily without starting point guard Mo Williams, who was out with an ankle injury.
Jefferson scored a game-high 19 points and had seven rebounds, power forward Paul Millsap had 16 points and eight rebounds, and small forward Marvin Williams had 16 points and three rebounds, as the Jazz’s starting front court combined for 51 points and 18 rebounds.
Gordon Hayward scored 15 off the bench.
“They went inside to Jefferson, and we didn’t have an answer for him,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “And they did a good job of cutting out the help. We looked like a young team tonight.”
Utah limited hot-shooting Ryan Anderson to seven points, including 1-of-6 on 3-pointers. The Jazz took control with a 31-17 third quarter, then fought off the Hornets the rest of the way.
“We were more aggressive in everything that we did,” Corbin said. “We were aggressive in our cuts on the offensive end, our defense picked up and we got our hands on a lot of balls, and we were able to get some easy baskets. Then we were able to gets some baskets in the post with Al.”
It was the defense of Marvin Williams, who left the game late in the third quarter with a concussion after a hard fall, that kept Anderson in check.
“He did a good job of following me around, making sure I didn’t get an open look,” said Anderson, who had shot 18-of-33 on 3-point attempts on the road trip. “But we can expect that from teams, and that should open up things for other guys.”
Williams also had a thunderous dunk at 8:19 of the third quarter that Monty Williams said underscored the difference in the game.
“It was a signature play for the Jazz and how they were attacking the rim,” Williams said. “We outscored them in the paint, which is hard to do against Utah, but they attacked the rim and got fouls.”
The Hornets outscored the Jazz in the lane 44-38. However, Utah was 28-of-38 on free throws compared with the Hornets’ 17-of-21.
Point guard Greivis Vasquez and center Robin Lopez led the Hornets with 18 points each. Vasquez also had eight assists and just one turnover.