SALT LAKE CITY -- If there was even a little doubt in Gordon Hayward's mind, his Utah Jazz teammates weren't going to let it win.
Not with so much at stake.
Not with so much on the line.
Hayward overcame a 1-for-8 start, shot 8-for-10 in the second half and tied his career high with five 3-pointers as Utah rallied to beat the New Orleans Hornets 95-83 Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
The unassuming swingman, who possesses more swagger than he often lets on, finished with a team-high 23 points for the Jazz, who kept pace in the Western Conference playoff chase.
They remain a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who held on to beat Memphis on Friday.
"We don't really worry about him," Utah forward Paul Millsap said of Hayward. "A guy like Gordon, he gets what he wants. Tonight it showed. He broke through it, he fought through it and it paid off."
The Jazz (40-37) went into the game seeking to bounce back from Wednesday's thumping at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. That loss ended a five-game winning streak and knocked the Jazz out of the playoff picture.
Facing a New Orleans team that hasn't won a road game since Feb. 11, their focus was on starting a new streak.
Millsap recorded his 15th double-double of the season, notching 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds, seven assists and a blocked shot. Center Al Jefferson added 14 points and five assists and Utah's bench scored 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting.
The Hornets (26-50) got a game-high 24 points from No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis and another 21 points and nine assists from underrated point guard Greivis Vasquez.
New Orleans' bench, however, was just 2-for-25 from the field.
As a team, the Hornets shot just 42 percent from the field and had 17 turnovers.
After a slow start in which they trailed 24-17 at the end of the first quarter, the Jazz outscored the Hornets 28-19 in the third quarter. They salted the game away with a 24-16 run in the fourth quarter.
Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points after halftime. He went 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point line.
"Oh man, the first (half) they just weren't falling," Hayward said. "But teammates and coaches told me to keep shooting, so that's what I did. I was able to get more looks to go in the second."
The 23-year-old said he felt he took good shots in the first half, they simply didn't find the bottom of the net.
He said he really didn't need a lot of encouragement, but the support helped. He hit a 3-pointer at the 9:52 mark of the third period and soon after added a layup.
"The ball just started going in," he said. "I credit my teammates with continuing to find me."
Hayward said he never really lacks confidence in himself.
In other words, he's an NBA-level shooter. He believes in himself no matter what.
"(Confidence) was still high (after the first half), it was just frustrating," he said. "They were really good looks and most of the shots were right on target, they were just a barely long or in-and-out or whatever. I was still confident."
Millsap candidly said when players are on the floor, they don't really have time to think about or consider a teammate's confidence level. But there are moments - at halftime or perhaps on the bench - when an encouraging word is offered.
With Hayward, however, it's never a matter of "if" he starts making shots, it's "when."
"Some guys would stop shooting at that point. Gordon? He's not one of those guys," he said. "He's a confident kid. He's going to do whatever it takes to help us win."