Jefferson leads Jazz over Bobcats 99-93
CHARLOTTE — Al Jefferson had 31 points and nine rebounds as the Utah Jazz defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 99-93 Wednesday night.
The Jazz controlled the paint, where they outscored the Bobcats 54-36 and outrebounded them 43-34.
Jefferson was 11 of 19 from the field and hit all but one of his 10 foul shots in a dominating inside effort. Paul Millsap scored 16 points while Derrick Favors added 14 points for the Jazz, who won for just the fifth time this season on the road.
The victory helped pull the Jazz back to .500 at 19-19.
Corey Maggette scored 25 points to lead the Bobcats, who failed in their quest to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. It's the third straight 20-point game for Maggette, who's averaging 19.7 points per game over the last 10 games.
Kemba Walker had 19 points and Byron Mullens added 16 for Charlotte.
Bobcats coach Paul Silas said before the game he was concerned about his team's ability to defend Utah's inside game and those worries proved valid early on.
The Jazz outscored the Bobcats 32-16 in the paint in the first half to open a 51-47 lead at the break.
The Jazz didn't venture away from the strategy after the break, opening the third quarter on a 12-1 run as Jefferson went right at Charlotte's rookie center Bismack Biyombo.
Jefferson seemed to toy with Biyombo at times, palming the ball with one hand prior to making almost uncontestable moves in the low post.
When the Bobcats made adjustments and began rolling help to Biyombo's side, Jefferson simply dished outside to free up Raja Bell, who knocked down a pair of jumpers to give the Jazz a 65-50 advantage.
The third quarter has been a problem for most of the season for the Bobcats (5-32).
Biyombo, who blocked seven shots and held Dwight Howard to 15 points Tuesday night in Charlotte's 100-84 win over the Orlando Magic, was visibly upset with his inability to defend Jefferson. He slapped his hands together in disgust as he headed down court after giving up a pair of baskets.
Biyombo eventually fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
It didn't take long before the Jazz extended the lead to 20 points in the second half as Favors contributed a strong game inside as well.
The Bobcats trailed 80-64 entering the fourth quarter, but never really challenged for the lead despite getting within six points at the end.
The Bobcats didn't play Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas, Gana Diop and Matt Carroll, four players who take up a combined $27.1 million under this year's salary cap. ... This was the first time Jazz assistant coach Sydney Lowe coached in the state since being fired as North Carolina State's head coach.