NBA Basketball

Subs guide Hornets past Jazz in fourth quarter

(TSX / STATS) -- CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Hornets are getting excellent play from their second unit this season, and that was the case again Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center.

The Hornets dominated the fourth quarter to pull out a 104-98 win over the Utah Jazz, and afterward the talk was all about reserves Marco Belinelli, Frank Kaminsky, Spencer Hawes and Ramon Sessions.

The four combined for 41 points and shot a combined 17 of 29 from the field, with Belinelli and Kaminsky scoring 13 each and Hawes 11. They were on the floor in the stretch when the Hornets finally took control in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 10 in the first half.

"Their bench was excellent tonight," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "They're good players. They fit together well. Spencer gave them a big lift in the first half, Frank Kaminsky obviously played well both halves, I've known Ramon Sessions for a long time, and he can control a game at point guard, and then Belinelli comes off screens. They have an identity on that bench with the way they play. They have a good identity."

The Hornets (6-1) won their fourth straight and are off to the best start in franchise history.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford lauded his second unit as true professionals. Hawes, Belinelli and Sessions are all in their 10th NBA seasons, while Kaminsky is in his second season.

"I think the play of our bench has been impressive," Clifford said. "It just shows that they're guys that are locked in. They know we have a good team and they know if we have the right attitude, the right approach, that we can be really good. And I think that makes it more fun for them.

"Some of those guys, Marco, Spencer and Ramon, they've played on a number of teams and they've had some years where some of those teams weren't as fun to play with. But we have a team that's fun to play with, so I think they're enjoying it, and they're producing."

Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 21 points, including nine in the final 3:59 to salt away the win. The Hornets went into the fourth quarter trailing 78-76. Charlotte took the lead for good at 86-85 with 7:21 left on a jumper by Kaminsky, then went on to lead by as many as 10 in the final two minutes.

The Hornets also got 19 points, including five 3-pointers, from Marvin Williams, and 12 points from Cody Zeller.

"That was obviously a good win," Clifford said. "They outplayed us in the first half and we were lucky that they missed some threes. They're hard to play against. They're a good team and very well-coached. But in the second half, we were balanced and our guys fought hard, so it was a good win."

The Jazz (5-4) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

They could never get on track from 3-point range. They came into the game second in the NBA in 3-point percentage, at 40.2 percent, but they finished 8 of 34 from 3-point range (23.5 percent). They also committed 14 turnovers.

Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 29 points, including 17 in the first half. Rodney Hood scored 20, Derrick Favors had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Trey Lyles scored 10. However, the Jazz bench contributed only 20 points and was a combined 8 of 22 from the field.

"We couldn't get stops, especially there in the second half," Hayward said. "We had some dumb plays and we just didn't get stops when we needed them. In the fourth, it felt like they were scoring on almost every possession.

"I felt like we got a lot of great looks. There were definitely a couple that rattled in and out. But we were going up against a set defense it felt like every single time, walking the ball upcourt after they scored. It's tough to score every single time when you're walking it up like that. So we have to be better defensively."

NOTES: The Hornets were missing C Roy Hibbert (knee soreness) for the fifth straight game and G Jeremy Lamb (strained hamstring) for the fourth straight game. ... The Jazz were without G George Hill (sprained thumb) for the second straight game and F Boris Diaw (leg contusion) for the sixth time. ... The Hornets lead the league in fewest turnovers, averaging 11.7 per game. The gave the ball away just nine times Wednesday. ... Jazz F Gordon Hayward (22-for-22) and Hornets G Marco Belinelli (12-for-12) are perfect from the free-throw line this season. Hayward was 6-for-6 Wednesday, and Belinelli was 2-for-2. ... The Hornets will close out a three-game homestand on Friday against the Toronto Raptors. ... The Jazz will play at Orlando on Friday, then will close out a five-game road trip at Miami on Saturday.

Updated November 9, 2016

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