CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte packed the paint, and Utah took advantage.
Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points, Robert Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds and the Jazz scored 54 points off 3-pointers to hold off the Hornets 119-111 on Friday night.
Kyle Korver made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in his debut with the Jazz, who acquired the veteran from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. Jae Crowder, Korver’s former teammate in Cleveland, added 24 points off the bench for Utah, including six 3s.
“We just took what they gave us,” Crowder said of the open looks. “(But) I was surprised. I’m not gonna lie.”
The Hornets got within six points with just over nine minutes left in the game, but Korver hit a pair of 3s to help hold them off.
“We were right there,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump tonight.”
Charlotte’s biggest concern going into the game was controlling the paint. The Hornets did well inside — scoring 70 points to Utah’s 46 — but couldn’t shut down the long-range game.
“This was not a team that was thriving at the 3-point line,” Borrego said. “They made 18. We made nine. So what they didn’t get at the inside they made up for at the 3-point line. Give them credit, they moved us around from the start.”
Charlotte clawed back late in the first half, mostly behind star Kemba Walker and veteran Tony Parker, and tied the game for the first time midway through the third period on a three-point play by guard Jeremy Lamb.
But Utah kept hitting 3s.
Joe Ingles made a 24-footer, Mitchell hit a 27-footer and Crowder connected on a 25-footer during a 90-second stretch late in the third period to get the lead back to 13.
“We had a lot of great looks tonight,” Korver said. “It’s just kind of the way basketball goes. You see one go down, then it snowballs. Obviously, Rudy put a ton of pressure on the basket. But we have great guards who are capable of making plays.”
Utah took its biggest lead at the start of the second period, a 16-point advantage, behind 10 points from Mitchell and eight from Crowder.
Walker finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, and Lamb had a season-high 24 points for the Hornets. Parker finished with 20 points and nine assists and Marvin Williams added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz.
Jazz: Went 5 of 11 on 3-pointers in the first quarter to build a 33-19 lead.
Hornets: Charlotte was without starter Cody Zeller most of the game. The center left in the second quarter with a left rib contusion and didn’t return. … Lamb has scored at least 18 points in eight of his last nine games.
This was the annual return to North Carolina for Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who played at Duke. The Blue Devils went to the Final Four three times in Snyder’s four seasons.
BACK AND FORTH
The Jazz and Hornets have split their two-game season series in each of the past four years, with the home team prevailing in all eight of those games. Utah will have a chance to sweep this season’s series when it hosts the Hornets on April 1.
Jazz: At Miami on Sunday night.
Hornets: Host New Orleans on Sunday.
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