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Jazz pull away early, cruise to finish vs. Hornets

Jan 23, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) passes the ball around Charlotte Hornets forward JT Thor (21) in the second quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz to a 120-102 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night in Salt Lake City.

Markkanen came up big in the pivotal second quarter, scoring 11 points while the Jazz catapulted past the Hornets for good to even their record at 25-25.

Jordan Clarkson added 18 points for Utah, which has won three of its last four. Mike Conley added 14 points, Walker Kessler contributed 13 points and nine boards and Collin Sexton chipped in with 11 points.

Terry Rozier scored 23 points and Mason Plumlee netted 18 for the Hornets, who had won two straight on their current four-game road trip.

Charlotte only scored eight points in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter while the Jazz built a 25-point lead.

The Hornets played without LaMelo Ball for the second straight game due to a left ankle sprain.

Conley and Markkanen each hit four 3-pointers and were among five Utah players with multiple treys on a night in which the team hit 16 of 40 shots from distance. Charlotte went 2-for-16 from beyond the arc.

After struggling in the first quarter, the Jazz broke loose in the second quarter to seize control. In addition to Markkanen’s 11 points, Sexton had nine in the period as Utah outscored Charlotte 37-21 to take a 58-45 halftime lead.

The Hornets scored the first eight points of the third quarter, pulling within five before a Markkanen 3-pointer ended Utah’s drought. Conley re-established the 13-point lead a moment later with back-to-back triples.

The Jazz used a 7-0 run, capped by another Conley 3-pointer, early in the fourth to go ahead 96-79. At its largest, the Utah lead reached 27.

Former Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who played the first seven seasons of his NBA career in Utah, scored 11 points for Charlotte.

–Field Level Media