SALT LAKE CITY -- Some players would stop shooting after a 1-of-8 start.
Hayward scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 23 as the Jazz beat the New Orleans Hornets 95-83 on Friday night.
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"You see the first one drop ... and the ball started going in," said Hayward, who scored 20 second-half points and hit 4 of 5 3-pointers after the break. "I credit my teammates for continuing to find me."
The Jazz (40-37) remained a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Utah led by just four entering the fourth but opened the quarter on an 8-0 run, capped by Hayward's 7-foot jumper. He would follow with a pair of 3s, then dunk an alley-oop pass after a steal by DeMarre Carroll as Utah surged ahead 87-73 with 4:47 remaining.
The Hornets got no closer than 10 and scored just 16 in the fourth.
Derrick Favors added 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots for the Jazz.
"If you would have said to me that Utah was only going to score 95 points and get to the free throw line 11 times, you would take that," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "We just couldn't make a shot ... and there were some energy plays that I would we could have back."
The Jazz hardly looked like a team in a playoff race early. The arena was half empty at the start of the game and the Jazz were cold, shooting 29.4 percent late in the first as New Orleans built an 18-11 lead.
The Hornets led 24-17 after one, outscoring Utah 16-8 in the paint and 8-0 on the break while holding a 12-7 rebounding edge.
The Jazz used a 23-8 run to start the second quarter, building a 40-32 lead.
It started with Carroll, who hasn't seen significant playing time in weeks but helped turn boos into cheers.
"Carroll infused himself into the game and that was huge for them," Williams said of the 6-foot-8 forward nicknamed "Junk Yard Dog" because of his scrappiness.
In addition to Carroll, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin used an odd combination during the run, with starter Millsap playing alongside reserves Jamaal Tinsley, Alec Burks, Carroll and Favors. The unit had played just six minutes together before but they clicked Friday.
Tinsley, Carroll and Burks had 3-pointers early in the run, and Carroll kept it going by diving on the floor for a steal to set up Millsap for a short bank shot.
"I scraped my knee, but that's part of who I am," said Carroll, who often goes to a fitness club with reserve guard Earl Watson after practice to continue honing his skills. "That why I think the fans love me so much. I go out there and leave it all on the floor. A guy like me, I don't take nothing for granted and I don't take no opportunities for granted."
Carroll finished with six points, three steals, three assists and three rebounds.
Millsap, meanwhile, continues to expand his game. He started 5 of 5 and was 7 of 8 at halftime. In the key second quarter, he converted a three-point play, passed inside to set up a dunk by Favors, and scored on a follow shot with 3:54 left in the half.
He finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and a block.
"He's creating more," Hayward said. "We need that. He's becoming more of a dual threat as a passer and making plays for everyone else."
The Jazz will need that if they can get into the playoffs.
The Hornets are just trying to get through this road trip and the rest of the season.
Afterward, nobody seemed happy.
Not Ryan Anderson, who was 0 of 10 as New Orleans' bench made just 2 of 25 field goals.
Not guard Eric Gordon, who was making his first appearance against the Jazz. He finished with seven points but played just 18 minutes.
"I definitely want to do what's best for the team and since [Coach] took me out, he took me out," Gordon said. "But I definitely want to be out there for sure."
|Mo Williams tries to drive baseline during Utah's home victory over the improved Hornets. (USATSI)|
|New Orleans (26-50)||24||19||24||16||83|
|Utah (40-37) «||17||28||26||24||95|
|NO:A. Davis 24 Pts
NO:A. Davis 12 Reb
NO:G. Vasquez 9 Ast
|UTA:G. Hayward 23 Pts
UTA:P. Millsap 10 Reb
UTA:J. Tinsley 7 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|G. Vasquez, PG||37||9-13||2-3||5||9||3||21|
|R. Lopez, C||35||5-9||2-2||7||1||0||12|
|A. Aminu, SF||33||4-11||0-0||3||1||2||8|
|A. Davis, PF||31||10-16||4-5||12||0||1||24|
|E. Gordon, SG||18||2-3||2-2||1||2||1||7|
|R. Anderson, PF||23||0-10||4-4||6||0||2||4|
|X. Henry, SG||17||0-5||3-4||2||0||0||3|
|B. Roberts, PG||16||1-6||0-0||1||0||4||2|
|L. Amundson, PF||13||1-1||0-0||3||0||2||2|
|D. Miller, SF||12||0-2||0-0||0||0||5||0|
|R. Mason Jr., SG||4||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|J. Smith, PF||Did Not Play|
|T. Harris, SG||Did Not Play|
|L. Thomas, SF||Did Not Play|
|A. Rivers, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|P. Millsap, PF||39||8-13||3-5||10||7||5||20|
|A. Jefferson, C||31||7-11||0-0||5||1||1||14|
|G. Hayward, SG||31||9-18||0-2||2||1||2||23|
|M. Williams, PG||29||3-8||2-2||2||4||4||8|
|R. Foye, PG||26||3-9||0-0||1||4||1||8|
|D. Favors, PF||27||5-8||0-0||10||0||4||10|
|D. Carroll, SF||26||2-5||1-2||3||3||3||6|
|J. Tinsley, PG||19||1-3||0-0||1||7||3||3|
|A. Burks, PG||13||1-2||0-0||1||1||2||3|
|E. Watson, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Williams, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. McNeal, SG||Did Not Play|
|J. Evans, SF||Did Not Play|
|E. Kanter, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Murphy, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|