SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The offseason acquisition of George Hill was a clear upgrade at the point guard position for the Utah Jazz, but few expected this type of production from the nine-year veteran.
Hill scored 25 points and the Jazz defeated the Dallas Mavericks 97-81 on Wednesday night.
Hill continued to power the Jazz offensively after coming to the team in a three-way trade with the Pacers and Hawks last summer. He has scored 18-plus points in all five games, the only Jazz player to do so.
“Some of the things that he’s doing, you were hopeful that he would do,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “But you’re equally pleased that he’s doing them. He’s made big shots at crucial times. What I’ve seen is his willingness to (say), `Where do you need me? Do you need me to score? Do you need me to get a stop? Do you want me to lead?’ The leadership component, to me, is probably the most unique. That’s something our team is responding to.”
The Mavericks trailed the entire game except for a 16-15 lead at the beginning of the second quarter. After shooting just 37.0 percent in the first quarter, the Jazz hit 49.2 percent the rest of the way. They were 12 for 25 from 3-point range.
“I’m just happy we’re winning, I don’t care about the numbers,” Hill said. “Just doing what it takes to try to win a game. I’m glad my teammates have confidence in me to control the tempo out there and try to make plays.”
Rodney Hood scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Jazz as teammate Rudy Gobert had 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 14 points, but they shot just 26.9 percent behind the arc.
“It’s been a tough start for us,” Mavs center and former Ute Andrew Bogut said. “No one is going to give us anything easy, so we got to dig ourselves out of this hole.
“We weren’t in the game, really from the start. Whatever it was, we were kind of chasing our tails from the start. Our bench did a great job of getting us back in the game. Made a run. We just couldn’t sustain it.”
Derrick Favors matched a season-high with 23 minutes as he works his way back from a knee injury. Dante Exum matched a season-high 10 points off the bench.
As well as the Jazz have played to start the season without their best player, Gordon Hayward, Snyder warned about getting too excited.
“We’ve had a couple guys in George and Joe that have provided stability, that have given our other guys confidence on the offensive end at important times,” Hill said. “But it’s hard to get too excited or too frustrated at this point in the year.”
The Jazz next host the Spurs Friday night.