Thornton scores 19 in win over Jazz
NEW ORLEANS -- David West's accuracy and Utah's shooting slump combined to give the Hornets an easy night.
West scored 23 points, Chris Paul had 11 points and 10 assists, and the New Orleans won its second straight, 100-71 over the Jazz on Friday night.
Hornets reserve guard Marcus Thornton, seeing a sudden surge in playing time, scored 19 in his second-straight double-digit performance, while Trevor Ariza scored 17.
The Jazz came in 10th in the NBA in scoring at 101.4 points per game, but shot poorly and got few second chances as the Hornets finished with a season-high 53 rebounds, 29 more than Utah. The Jazz shot 35.8 percent and finished with a season low in points.
Paul Millsap had 14 points for Utah, which lost for the fourth time in 11 road games. Deron Williams and Al Jefferson each scored 10.
Coming off a game in which they overcame a 23-point deficit against Sacramento for the largest comeback in franchise history, the Hornets made this game a lot easier on themselves, taking a 20-point lead late in the first half and posting the largest margin over the Jazz in team history.
The Hornets shot 50.7 percent and were 19 of 22 from the free throw line, with West going 7 of 9 on field goals and hitting all nine of his foul shots. Thornton was 8 of 10 from the field and was 3 of 5 on 3-point attempts.
Thanks to Thornton and 10 points from fellow guard Jarrett Jack, the Hornets reserves outscored Utah's 37-22.
Paul often has not matched up well against Williams, who was taken one pick ahead of him in the first round of the 2005 draft. That was not the case this time. Williams had trouble staying in front of the smaller Paul several times as the Hornets star aggressively used crossover dribbles and hesitation moves to create space for himself.
In one sequence in the third quarter, Paul drove around Williams and hung in the air as he banked a shot over defenders rotating in to help. Williams took the ball right back at Paul but his layup missed, and the Hornets went the other way to set up Belinelli's 3, which gave New Orleans its biggest lead at 70-41.
The Hornets started to build their first sizable lead after Jefferson's turnaround jumper had pulled Utah to 16-14 in the first quarter. New Orleans scored the next 11 points, highlighted by Thornton's first two baskets early in the second quarter.
Thornton later hit his first 3 of the game, making it 40-22. The Hornets went up 48-28 on Ariza's driving dunk, followed by Paul's weaving dribble and double-pump floater from the lane.
Gordan Hayward hit a 3 from the left wing late in the quarter to cut New Orleans lead to 50-33, and that score stood until halftime.