SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Playing on the road is getting a little better for the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats beat the Utah Jazz 104-89 Wednesday night, winning for just the sixth time away from home this season and only the second time against a Western Conference team.
“I think everybody had a good rhythm tonight. We wanted to continue to attack the basket,” said Brevin Knight, who had 19 points and 10 assists for the Bobcats. “Sometimes we tend to get away from what gets us leads and not play as hard.”
Not this time.
The only time the Bobcats trailed was early in the first quarter and Charlotte controlled nearly all of the second half while improving to 2-0 all-time at Utah. One of the Bobcats’ four road wins last season, their first in the NBA, was here on Feb. 1, 2005.
Charlotte didn’t have Emeka Okafor (sprained ankle) this time, but did just fine without him. All five Charlotte starters scored in double figures and the Bobcats shot 52 percent (36-for-69) from the floor.
“The balance was really good. They shared the basketball and that is what you really have to do against Utah because they play really good team defense,” Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “I thought down the stretch our patience was really good. We didn’t panic.”
The Jazz were without Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) and did little to help themselves overcome his absence. Utah was just 18-of-30 from the free throw line, struggling for the second straight game and missing a chance to keep pace with Denver in the Northwest Division.
Utah was booed by the home fans through much of the second half while falling behind by as much as 20.
“I’d boo us, too,” said Milt Palacio, who scored 17 off the bench for Utah. “We can’t be up and down. If we’re going to make it (the playoffs) we’ve got to go from here. We can’t lose games like this.”
Utah, which is trying to end a two-year playoff drought, hasn’t won back-to-back games since beating Chicago and Minnesota on Feb. 6 and 10. The Jazz fell 3 1/2 games behind Denver in the division.
“We didn’t really seem to have any life,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Bobcats are a long way from the playoffs, but outplayed the Jazz all night. Charlotte forced 15 turnovers while committing nine and had 10 steals to Utah’s five. The Bobcats improved to 2-3 on a six-game road trip, which ends Friday in Dallas.
“Sometimes you get easy shots and that is what gets you going. That’s our formula: Get steals, get easy shots,” Knight said.
The Bobcats outscored the Jazz in all four quarters and held Mehmet Okur to six points and six rebounds. Okur scored 31 in an overtime win at Charlotte in November.
Charlotte led by 12 when Utah made a slight run in the third quarter after Sloan got a technical with 7:15 left in the period. Official Leon Wood was about 10 feet in front of Sloan when he overheard something the coach said.
Wood called the technical and Sloan immediately jumped from his seat and took a step toward the court before his assistants restrained him. It sparked the Jazz, but only slightly, in a 10-4 run. Williams cut the lead to 71-64 with a 3-pointer, then Charlotte closed the period on a 10-3 run and led 81-67 entering the fourth.
Brezec made back-to-back jumpers and Jake Voskuhl and Matt Carroll added jumpers from the corner, then Voskuhl ended the period for Charlotte with a dunk. Utah had a chance to cut into the lead, but Jarron Collins went 1-for-2 from the line after getting fouled in the final second.
Utah remained listless in the final period and never made much of a threat.
Charlotte was just 4-37 on the road in its first NBA season. … The Jazz were just 26-of-42 from the line in an overtime win at Golden State on Monday. Utah has made 38 of its last 72 free throws. … Charlotte was missing Okafor for the 33rd time in 34 games because of a sprained right ankle.