RUDY Gobert may not be as popular as his New Orleans counterparts Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but the French big man had the last laugh on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) with a highlight-worthy jam and some splendid defense to help the Utah Jazz hold off the Pelicans, 88-83, at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
The Jazz led by as much as 18 in the first half and held the Pelicans to season-lows in points (34) and field goals made (11) before the break. Utah kept double-digit leads for almost the entire second half before Davis led a late charge to trim a nine-point deficit down to four, 75-71, with 4:33 left.
Utah, though, countered with an 8-2 run to push the lead back up to 10, 83-73, with 1:51 to go. Cousins got New Orleans within six with 20 seconds remaining, but Gobert slammed the door shut on a Pelicans comeback with a dunk off an inbounds play. New recruit Jordan Crawford’s trey got New Orleans within four but ran out of time as Rodney Hood sealed the win with a pair of free throws.
Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 23 points, while Gobert finished with a double-double of 15 markers and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, who have won three straight and upped their record to 40-24.
Davis had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Orleans (25-39), while Crawford chipped in 19 off the bench. Cousins ended up with 15 points and eight boards.