In three seasons, New Orleans Hornets Coach Monty Williams has never verbally lashed out at one of his players in front of fans during a game. But in a heat of the moment situation Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz, Williams apparently got into a shouting match with starting shooting guard Eric Gordon during a timeout with 8:47 remaining in the third quarter.

The blowup came after a stretch when Gordon committed turnovers on two of the Hornets’ four possessions in the quarter and didn’t appear to hustle back in transition defensively on a possession that ended with forward Paul Millsap scoring on a layup after Anthony Davis blocked Randy Foye’s shot attempt.

After Williams hastily called a timeout with his team trailing the Jazz 57-49, he shouted in Gordon’s direction. NBA.com reported that Williams had to be held back by assistant coach Randy Ayers after Gordon hollered back at him when the team went to the bench.

Williams could not be reached for comment Saturday, and the Hornets said they had nothing to say regarding the matter.

In explaining why he didn’t play Gordon after the third-quarter flare up, Williams said after Friday night’s game they simply decided to go in a different direction.

"We needed a little bit more effort getting off those screens,’’ Williams said.

Gordon sat at the end of the bench, but appeared engaged during timeouts. But after the game, Gordon appeared to be puzzled about getting benched. He also made no mention of the shouting match.

He finished with seven points on two-of-three shooting, playing just more than 17 minutes. It was the Hornets’ eighth consecutive loss on the road.