After scoring 31 points on Saturday night against the Boston Celtics and scoring at least 27 points in five of the last six games, Gordon Hayward is on a roll. Unfortunately, the latest monster effort came in a defeat.
Utah’s bread and butter this season has been defense, and Gordon said afterward that the Jazz simply didn’t play well enough on that end of the floor in the 112-104 loss.
“We just didn’t execute what we were trying to do,” Gordon said. “Because of that, they got open looks from three and at the rim and they knocked them down. I felt like every time we made a run, they hit a dagger and put it back up to 15 or 16 points or whatever.”
G-Time had nine points and an assist in the opening period, but the Celtics raced out to a 33-23 lead. No. 20 hit his third of four 3-pointers in the second, but Boston only added four points to its lead.
The Celtics led 58-44 at the half, but Gordon went right to work out of the break, hitting his first two shots to cut into the deficit.
The Jazz trailed by 12 to start the fourth quarter and faced a deficit greater than 20 in the final frame. Hayward brought his team all the way back to within six, burying a 3-pointer with 22 seconds to go, but Boston iced the game at the free throw line.
Hayward shot 10-of-19 from the field and added four assists in 38 minutes. Even before he put together that strong performance, Gordon earned some high praise from his collegiate coach, Brad Stevens.
“It’s special to watch him,” Stevens said before the game. “He’s showed tremendous growth through all of his years playing, and certainly all of his time here. … He’s playing in a great system for him.”
The Jazz play the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, in a game with heavy playoff implications, as the Clippers trail Utah by a half a game for the four seed.