Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/9/13
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Utah Jazz has played more road games than any team in the NBA so far this season. That's the biggest reason why the Jazz have struggled to get to the .500 mark and get any momentum going. But things are starting to come together, and the latest example came on Wednesday night as the Jazz methodically dispatched the Charlotte Bobcats, 112-102. The Jazz took control quickly, led by as many as 21 in the first half, and kept the lead in double digits throughout the second half -- leading wire to wire for just the second time all season. It was their second straight win, their fourth win the past five games, and it finally got them above the .500 mark at 19-18. To Coach Tyrone Corbin, it was another sign of how this team is starting to grow together. "These guys are great," Corbin said. "They're a great group of guys. They get along with each other. They push each other, and the encouraging thing is they continue to make each other better by competing in practice every day. Then when you get in the game as a unit, they stay together. So we're seeing them grow and we'll be more successful sooner as a result of that. "We want to keep it going now. You want to get a little gap between your wins and your losses. Now we're one up. We want to go two up, and three up, and four up, and get a run going. We talked about winning games in a row, and that shows some toughness. That shows a lot of toughness." Wednesday night's win kicked off a three-game Eastern trip that will continue at Atlanta on Friday and at Detroit on Saturday. After that, it is home to Salt Lake City for an extended home stretch, with 10 of the following 15 games at home. "I've heard a lot of people say it, this is a business trip for us," said center Al Jefferson. "This is the time to do it. We've been talking about it long enough. So now it's time to be about it. Because before you know it, it's going to be All-Star break, and then before you know it, it's time to make that playoff push. So time's going fast and these games are coming fast and we've got to start taking advantage of them right now." Jefferson led the way with 26 points and eight rebounds. He was 11 of 15 from the field on a night when the Jazz shot 53.7 percent from the field -- their second-best shooting night of the season. The Jazz also got 19 points from Paul Millsap, 14 points from Gordon Hayward, 12 points from Alec Burks, and 10 apiece from DeMarre Carroll and Derrick Favors. Corbin was particularly pleased with the way the Jazz shared the ball throughout the game. Utah had 30 assists on 44 field goals. "I thought that was great," Corbin said. "I thought that was the key to the game. We had 19 at halftime and I wanted to make sure we continued that throughout the game, and in the second half we continued to share the ball." The 19 first-half assists came as the Jazz shot 58.1 percent from the field in the first half. The Jazz exploded in the final six minutes of the half, outscoring Charlotte 29-11 in that span to take control. "We did a much better job defensively in that stretch and it led to some easy buckets," Hayward said. "We were obviously going through Al and Paul, and they carried us, and then they got double-teamed and they kicked it out and we knocked down some shots. I hope we can continue to come out with the same energy we had tonight and try to do the things we did well." The Bobcats, 9-25, have now lost 12 straight home games. They made one minirun early in the third quarter to cut the Jazz lead to 10, but Utah pulled back away to a 90-73 lead after three and then it was a matter of trading baskets down the stretch. Ben Gordon led the Bobcats with 20 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 15, and Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions and Gerald Henderson scored 14 each. "Jefferson and Millsap went to work," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "When we tried to cover them straight-up, that wasn't the answer. When we tried to double them, they abused us a little bit from the outside. So we were just trying to find answers." Notes: The Jazz were without Marvin Williams because of right knee inflammation, and Mo Williams following thumb surgery. Marvin Williams has already been ruled out for the entire road trip, and Mo Williams is expected to miss at least six more weeks. ... To replace Marvin Williams, the Jazz called up guard Kevin Murphy from Reno of the NBADL on Tuesday. Murphy, a second-round pick last summer, played in three games with the Jazz earlier this season. ... The Bobcats' last home victory came on Nov. 21 against Toronto. ... Byron Mullens missed his seventh straight game for the Bobcats because of a left ankle sprain. ... The Bobcats will next head out on a three-game road trip, with games at Toronto on Friday, at Indiana on Saturday and at Boston next Monday.
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