NEW ORLEANS (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz are usually the ones that come out in the third quarter and blow teams away.
But Monday night, the New Orleans Pelicans dominated the third, outscoring the Jazz 40-24, and held off a late Utah rally for a 129-124 victory.
“There wasn’t a lot that we did well throughout the course of the game on the defensive end,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “So we just have to be better, like I said there’s a lot of things we need to do better.
Zion Williamson had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Brandon Ingram scored 26 points for New Orleans.
Lonzo Ball added 23 and JJ Redick had 17, highlighted by a pair of four-point plays on 3-pointers as he was fouled.
Bojan Bogdanovic hit seven 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points for Utah (27-8), which lost for just the eighth time this season, but the second time in three games.
New Orleans led by as many as 17 points in the second half and was still up 14 when Ball’s 3 made it 122-108 with 3:54 left.
But Utah steadily chipped away during the next three minutes, pulling to 125-124 on Royce O’Neale’s 3 with 46.7 seconds left. Donovan Mitchell, who scored eight of his 21 points in the final minutes to help give the Jazz a chance, missed a driving floater with a chance to put Utah back in the lead.
Rudy Gobert, who had 22 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, was called for a loose-ball foul trying to get the rebound and Williamson hit two free throws to put New Orleans up three.
Utah’s last chance to tie went awry when New Orleans swarmed perimeter shooters and Mike Conley was forced to attempt a leaning, double-clutch 3 from the corner that missed the rim. Williamson directed the rebound to Ball, who fired his final assist downcourt to Josh Hart for a game-sealing dunk that had the socially distanced crowd of just less than 3,000 jumping out of their seats in full voice.
“We knew exactly what we had to do and we just didn’t execute,” said Mitchell. “That’s on us. Whether we’re the hunted or the hunter, we’ve still got to be that aggressive team and we just weren’t it tonight. We weren’t the same team we were in Orlando, as a whole.”
The Pelicans entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead after outscoring Utah 40-24 in the third period. Williamson scored 15 points and added a pair of assists in the quarter.
His spurt was marked by his conversion of Ball’s three-quarter-court lob, with Williamson catching it off balance to the left of the rim and putting it in just before he crashed over the baseline. Williamson also converted a three-point play on a strong drive to the basket as he was fouled, and one of his assists came after he drew three defenders with a spin move inside and slung the ball out to Redick for a 3.
Utah led for most of the first half, and by as many as nine points, in large part because of their 11 made three-pointers during the opening 24 minutes.
Bogdanovic made five of his first seven shots from deep and had 19 points in the half.
Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points in 27 minutes off the bench, while Conley finished with 10 points. Utah had its highest scoring second quarter of the season with 41 points. The Jazz shot 45.5% (46 of 101), including 17 of 43 from 3-point range.
The Jazz play its final game before the All-Star break Wednesday at Philadelphia.