NBA: Jazz walk away early, cruiser vs Hornets –

FILE – Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz looks on against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center on January 07, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

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 excelled in the pivotal second quarter, scoring 11 points as the Jazz outscored 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 11 points.

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

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

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

Conley and Markkanen each made four 3-pointers and were among five Utah players with multiple 3-pointers on a night the team was 16-for-40 from distance. Charlotte was 2-of-16 from beyond the arc.

After struggling in the first quarter, the Jazz broke loose in the second quarter to take 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 Markkanen’s 3-pointer ended Utah’s drought. Conley restored the 13-point lead a moment later with back-to-back 3-pointers.

The Jazz used a 7-0 run, capped by another Conley 3-pointer, early in the fourth to take a 96-79 lead. At its highest point, Utah’s 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.


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