Break fails to slow Jazz

Utah earns road victory over Houston in first game after All-Star weekend.
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Check the name on the front of those blue jerseys: The Jazz have won four consecutive road games. Check the name on the reverse as well: Kyle Korver is back to playing fourth-quarter minutes and hitting go-ahead jumpers.

Those were the dominant storylines Tuesday as the Jazz returned from the All-Star break with a 104-95 victory over the Houston Rockets, winning on a ragged night in which the two teams combined to commit 45 turnovers at Toyota Center.

As the opener to a four-game trip, however, the Jazz were more than happy to take it. They won for the 14th time in 16 games, picking up where they left off before the break, even as coach Jerry Sloan opted to play Korver ahead of C.J. Miles in the second half.

"I felt pretty good out there tonight," said Korver, who finished with 10 points, three assists and three steals while hitting 4 of 5 shots in 16 minutes. "It's by far the best that I've felt overall in about two years, since the preseason last year. It's coming along."

Paul Millsap posted 20 points and 12 rebounds and Deron Williams totaled 17 points and 15 assists as the Jazz improved to 11-12 on the road. They have beaten San Antonio, Portland, the L.A. Clippers and now Houston during this road winning streak.

"You can shorten a series up real quick if you can win on the road and win at home as well," Sloan said with an eye toward the playoffs.

Korver had played just 25 minutes in the Jazz's five games before the break and failed to see any action in two of them. He spent the weekend rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee at a Santa Barbara, Calif., training center and seized his opportunity Tuesday.

With C.J. Miles going 0-for-3 with a turnover in the first half, Sloan called on Korver to make a cameo for 1:02 just before halftime. Korver knocked down a 20-footer in that time, but Sloan said he had already made up his mind to go with Korver in the second half.

"He missed a lot of basketball and he's had to fight back because we have some different people," Sloan said. "I was happy for him the way he played."

Korver, who sat out 27 games following October knee surgery, connected on three jumpers and was the Jazz's leading fourth-quarter scorer with eight points. He pulled up for a 19-footer with 3:05 left that gave Utah the lead for good 94-93.

"It was good to get him out there and get him some confidence, and he shot the ball well down the stretch and defended well," Williams said.

After the teams traded turnovers, Andrei Kirilenko picked off a David Andersen (18 points) pass and raced for a dunk with 2:06 remaining. Aaron Brooks missed everything on a three-pointer for Houston, but Kirilenko was called for basket interference at the other end.

Andersen missed a jumper for the Rockets, but Carlos Boozer coughed up the ball for the Jazz. Houston had three chances trailing 96-9,3 but Brooks missed a three-pointer, Trevor Ariza missed a three-pointer and Brooks missed on a drive to the basket.

"It got a little sloppy there towards the end, but we hung in there, we got stops when we needed to, and we executed down the stretch," Williams said.

The Jazz survived Houston's 32-point second quarter and overcame a six-point halftime deficit. The Rockets hit 11 of 26 three-pointers, with the 6-foot-11 Andersen going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Brooks scored 18 points but made just 5 of 17 shots.

With Dallas losing 99-86 to Oklahoma City, the Jazz now own a 11/2 game lead on the No. 4 Mavericks in the conference. After going 15-26 on the road the last season, the Jazz will look to capitalize on the post-Mardi Gras hangover tonight in New Orleans.

"We owe them a game," Williams said, with the Hornets having beaten the Jazz 91-87 Jan. 4 at EnergySolutions Arena.

Jazz at Hornets

At New Orleans Arena

Time » Today, 6 p.m.

TV » FSN Utah

Radio » 1320 AM, 98.7 FM

Records » Jazz 33-19, New Orleans 28-25

Last meeting » New Orleans, 91-87 (Jan. 4)

Line » Jazz by 31/2

About the Jazz » They lost to the Hornets last month in Utah as Devin Brown scored a career-high 30 points and hit five three-pointers. Brown was traded Jan. 25 to Chicago.

About the Hornets » They went into the All-Star break with a 93-85 victory over Boston and are 3-4 since losing Chris Paul to a knee injury.


In short » With Kyle Korver playing in the fourth quarter, the Jazz beat Houston in their first game back from the All-Star break.

Key moment » Trailing 96-93 in the frantic final minute, the Rockets miss two three-pointers and a layup.

Key stat » The Rockets make just 7 of 22 shots and commit six turnovers in the fourth.

Jazz at Hornets

At New Orleans Arena

Time » 6 p.m.

TV » FSN Utah

Radio » 1320 AM, 98.7 FM