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(Monday, January 7th)
Final Score: Utah 100, Dallas 94
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and the Utah Jazz put forth a strong fourth quarter to rally for a 100-94 victory over the badly slumping Dallas Mavericks at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Jazz outscored Dallas by a 26-14 margin in the final stanza to erase an eight-point deficit early in the period and notch their third win in four games, while dealing the spiraling Mavericks a third straight loss and 12th setback in their last 14 outings.
Al Jefferson amassed 15 points and 11 rebounds to aid the Utah comeback, with Paul Millsap adding 14 points and nine boards and Alec Burks netting eight of his 13 points during the fourth-quarter surge.
"We stayed together and didn't put our head down when things weren't going our way and most importantly, we got stops," said Jefferson.
Dirk Nowitzki recorded 20 points in Dallas' latest defeat, while Chris Kaman registered 14 points and nine rebounds and Elton Brand delivered an 11-point, nine-board effort off the bench.
The Jazz were down 82-74 after Nowitzki buried a jumper to begin the fourth quarter and trailed by six midway through the session, but ripped off 13 consecutive points to move in front to stay.
A Burks 3-pointer with 4:35 left tied it at 86-86, and Hayward followed with a steal and layup on the subsequent possession before later ending Utah's pivotal run with a 24-foot trey that staked the Jazz to a 93-86 advantage at the 2:19 mark.
"I thought our defense picked it up, we got our hands on a lot of balls," said Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin. "As a result when we got down the floor, we played with the right sense of urgency, we got the ball to the right guy."
Dallas would close within three on two occasions down the stretch, with two Nowitzki free throws making the score 95-92 with 52.3 seconds to go. The Mavericks came up empty on their next two trips down the court, however, and the Jazz scored the next four points from the charity stripe to seal the outcome.
"We're playing much better; we just can't close out the game," Brand remarked. "The last few games have been ours, to be honest. We lost them ourselves. Give the other teams credit of course, but we had leads in the fourth (quarter) and opportunities."
The Mavs ended an otherwise evenly played opening quarter on a 9-2 run to grab a 26-19 lead, but Utah scored eight of the first nine points of the second and forged a 27-27 tie on a Hayward triple less than two minutes into the period. Neither team was ahead by more than five points over the remainder of the first half, with the Jazz knotting the score at 53-53 at the break when Marvin Williams knocked down a trey with 1.3 seconds left.
The Jazz shot just 39 percent over the initial two quarters, but made 6-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc to stay in it. Hayward went 3-of-4 from long distance as part of an 18-point performance.
Utah finished the game a sharp 10-of-19 from 3-point range.
The lead would change seven times during the third quarter, the last of which came when Vince Carter was fouled on a successful layup and converted the bonus shot to give Dallas a 71-69 edge with 3:17 remaining in the frame. That ignited a 10-1 Mavs' surge capped by Nowitzki's 3-pointer that put the visitors up by a 78-70 count.
Dallas fell to 18-58 all-time on the road against the Jazz, which includes a 113-94 loss in Salt Lake City in the Oct. 31 season opener ... Nowitzki went 7-of-14 from the floor and now has 8,468 career field goals, moving him past Allen Iverson (8,467) for 23rd place on the NBA's all-time list in that category ... The Mavericks lost for only the fourth time in 16 games this season when leading after three quarters ... Utah improved to 7-1 on the season when Jefferson and Millsap combine for 20 or more rebounds ... Jazz center Enes Kanter returned from a two-game absence due to a sprained ankle and had six points in 15 minutes.
01/08 01:26:29 ET