Gordon Hayward helped the Utah Jazz get back in the win column against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday after falling short against the Memphis Grizzlies the previous night.
The Jazz got off to a hot start on Friday, but the Grizzlies managed to regroup and push Hayward and Co.’s winless streak to five in a 94-88 contest despite 18 points, six boards, two assists and two steals from G-Time.
“It’s something we’ve just got to figure out or else we’re going to be looking at going home early,” Gordon said after the defeat. “So we have to figure this out.”
After the tough loss, Gordon and his teammates did exactly that. The Jazz headed down to The Big Easy and responded with a sound 106-94 victory over the Pelicans to salvage the road trip. Hayward finished the game with an impressive 24 points, five rebounds, four helpers and a steal.
JAZZ FALL TO GRIZZ
The tilt against the Grizz started off strong for H20 and the Jazz as they got out to a 28-19 lead going into the second quarter. Gordon brought the energy early as he swiped away a bad pass which led to a three-point play on the other end for his first points of the game.
Hayward knocked down his fadeaway jumper after getting fouled and hit the ensuing freebie to give the Jazz a 10-4 advantage. G-Time helped cushion the early lead again on a floating jump shot at the 7:05 mark of the first to make it a 16-8 game. In the back end of the quarter, Hayward’s slam gave his squad a 26-12 lead.
The second quarter was a struggle for Gordon and the Jazz as they were outscored by the Grizzlies 30-11 and saw their lead slip away. H20 was held without a field goal in the frame and Utah trailed by 10 entering the half. No. 20 shook off the rough quarter and came out to score the first points of the third for the Jazz on a reverse layup to make it a 49-41 game.
Utah continued to climb back into the contest and went on a 13-2 run midway through the third to get back into it. After back-to-back layups from Derrick Favors and Shelvin Mack, Gordon drained a clutch trey to cut the deficit to two. Trevor Booker responded with another three-pointer on the next Jazz possession to give Utah a 60-59 lead with 4:50 left in the third.
G-Time came through again a few possessions later and hit a floating jumper to give his squad 65-61 edge. The run continued with Gordon’s step-back jump shot put Utah up 68-61 and the Jazz led 72-67 after three. However the fourth is where things started to unravel as Utah was outscored 27-16 and Memphis came back to steal the win at a raucous FedEx Forum.
“It’s very frustrating, especially when we seem to come out pretty strong in these games,” G-Time said. “In another game, we have a double-digit lead and we let it slip away and now we are in a ballgame. On the road, it’s going to be tough against teams so we just can’t have those lapses.”
BIG EASY BOUNCE BACK
The following night on the second-leg of the back-to-back, Hayward and the Jazz came back with the type of win they needed to remain in the playoff race.
G-Time got things going after he banked in an impressive jumper to put the Jazz up 11-8 in the first. Gordon knocked down consecutive field goals for the Jazz later in the frame to give his squad a 21-14 lead. After dropping a pull-up jumper, H20 canned his first three of the game at the 2:33 mark.
Later in the first, he made another pullup jump shot to put his troops up by ten and behind his nine points in the quarter, the Jazz held a lead nine-point lead, 29-20, entering the second. Gordon was quiet for the start of the quarter, but the Jazz still held on to a manageable lead.
It took until the 2:19 mark of the second frame for Gordon to add to his scoring total, but his second make from beyond the arc put the Jazz up 46-39 after the Pelicans had scored five unanswered points to cut Utah’s lead to four. New Orleans made consecutive baskets to close out the half, but G-Time and the Jazz still held on to a 51-45 lead.
Things started to tighten up in the third, but H20 and the Jazz weren’t going to let another game slip away. Gordon’s jumper early in the third made it a 55-49 game, and about midway through the frame, he threw down a driving slam to give the Jazz a 64-61 lead after the Pelicans got to within one on the previous possession.
Shortly thereafter, a three-pointer from NOLA’s star big man Anthony Davis knotted the game at 70. But after that shot, Gordon and Derrick Favors teamed up to end the quarter on a 14-0 run. Gordon hit a floater to start it off, and Favors kept it going with a 16-foot jumper.
Then came the highlight of the run, when Favors recorded a huge block that led to the long outlet pass to G-Time, who was fouled hard by Toney Douglas. A Flagrant 1 was called and it resulted in two free throws for Hayward and an extra possession for Utah, which turned into another successful bucket for Favors, who finished with 28 points and 11 boards.
“We’ve been in this situation before. We just kept attacking,” Favors said. “Gordon (Hayward) made good plays. Everybody made good plays, really. Just ran up the score…It was a game we definitely needed. just came out with a lot of energy. Everybody was ready from the jump.”
Fave hit another shot, and H20 followed it up with another pair of free throws before Trevor Booker punctuated the run with a dunk, putting the Jazz up, 84-70.
Utah didn’t relinquish the lead in the fourth. The closest the Pelicans came was within nine points with 1:18 to go, but the Jazz closed out a much-needed victory that keep them afloat in the Western Conference standings. The two best players for the Jazz, Hayward and Favors, combined for 52 points in the contest.
“I think we’ve done enough talking this year, honestly,” Gordon said of himself and Favors. “We’ve talked about it a lot, especially over the last four or five games. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”
Hayward and the Jazz (29-33) return to Salt Lake City on Tuesday night to take on the Atlanta Hawks (35-28). Earlier in the season on Nov. 15, the Jazz came away with a 97-96 win on the road against Atlanta and they will look to repeat the same success at home.
The Hawks are heating of late and have won four of their last five games. Most recently, Atlanta handled both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers over the weekend and will come into Tuesday’s showdown against Hayward and Co. ready to go.
The game will tip off at 7 p.m. MST from Vivint Smart Home Arena and will be aired on ROOT.
- Game Book: Jazz at Pelicans (NBA, Mar. 5, 2016)
- Game Book: Jazz at Grizzlies (NBA, Mar. 4, 2016)
- Randolph scores 25 to lead Grizzlies past Jazz (AP, Mar. 5, 2016)
- Familiar tune as Utah Jazz fall flat in Memphis (Deseret News, Mar. 4, 2016)
- Utah Jazz lose in Memphis (The Salt Lake Tribune, Mar. 4, 2016)
- Is Gordon Hayward a future fantasy superstar? (ESPN, Mar. 7, 2016)
- Utah Jazz snap losing streak, beat New Orleans (Salt Lake Tribune, Mar. 5, 2016)
- NBA Roundup for March 6 (AP, Mar. 6, 2016)