JEFFREY BERNSTEIN, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The Utah Jazz lead the Northwest Division and the Brooklyn Nets have the worst record in the NBA. The fourth quarter of Monday night’s game highlighted the disparity.
Gordon Hayward scored 30 points, Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 16 rebounds and the Jazz pulled away in the final quarter to beat the Nets 101-89.
Rodney Hood and Shelvin Mack scored 15 points each for the Jazz.
Trevor Booker led the Nets with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Brook Lopez scored 14 points.
“When you think of closing, you think offense,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I think of defense, like in baseball with shutting people down and not letting them get on base. Just getting outs, and that is what we have to be.”
The game was tied 70-70 after three quarters, but Utah’s Joe Ingles and Raul Neto opened the fourth with consecutive buckets and the Jazz never trailed again. They extended their lead to 89-78 on Hood’s layup with 6:11 left, but the Nets pulled to 91-86 on Lopez’s dunk with 3:11 remaining.
Utah countered with a 9-1 run and took a game-high 13 point lead on Mack’s jumper with 1:09 left.
“The start of the fourth turned it around for us as a team,” Hayward said. “We got a little bit of a lead and by the time I got back in there we were up eight or ten. Makes it a lot easier.”
The Jazz went on a 12-3 run and tied the game at 65 on Hayward’s two free throws with 1:17 left in the third. He followed that with another two free throws and a 3-pointer to give Utah a 70-67 edge.
Joe Harris then hit a jumper and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made a free throw to knot it at 70.
Isaiah Whitehead scored 12 points and Hollis-Jefferson finished with 11 for the Nets.
“Mistakes. We let them get the best of us,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “It’s kind of hard for us to bounce back sometimes, especially later in games.”
Jazz: At 22-13, Utah has posted its best record after 35 games since the 2010-11 team went 24-11. The Jazz finished 39-43 that season and failed to make the playoffs.
Nets: Only Lopez or Booker scored a point for the Nets until Hollis-Jefferson made a field goal with 2:28 remaining in the first quarter.
Joe Johnson, who was waived by the Nets on Feb. 25 last season, made his first appearance against his former team in Brooklyn. In four seasons as a Net, Johnson played in 288 games, averaging 14.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. He was an All-Star in 2014 and ranks fourth on the team’s 3-point field goal list with 516.
Jeremy Lin strained his left hamstring for the second time this season on Dec. 26 vs. Charlotte and has not played since. “There’s no timetable because it’s hard to predict,” Lin said before the game. “It’s in a different area, completely the other side. Hurt a lot less when it happened, so I’m definitely encouraged.” Lin has only played in 12 games this season.
Jazz: Utah visits Boston on Tuesday night. The Jazz have dropped eight straight to the Celtics in Boston, notching their last victory there on March 14, 2008 (110-92). The teams have not met yet this season and will play again in Utah on Feb. 11.
Nets: Brooklyn visits Indiana on Thursday night. The teams have split their two meetings this season and will play again in Brooklyn on Feb. 3. The Pacers have beaten the Nets three straight in Indianapolis.
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