The Utah Jazz entered the weekend on a two-game losing streak, but after two strong team performances, they’re now riding a two-game win streak.
Utah defeated the Brooklyn Nets 112-97 on Friday night. While Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward had a solid all-around game, finishing with 12 points, six assists and three rebounds. George Hill set the tone with 34 points and seven assists, earning a hat tip from No. 20 afterward.
“That’s why I said I wasn’t concerned after the last game,” Hayward said. “There are going to be nights like that. Glad that he bounced back and glad that we bounced back as a team.”
Hayward scored six points in each half. Utah got off to a big lead in the first quarter and never let Brooklyn get that close to making a serious comeback.
While the Jazz were able to get a victory against Brooklyn without Hayward’s normal offensive output, they needed all 23 of his points against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
It was a tough first half for both Hayward and the Jazz. Gordon scored six points in the first two quarters and the Jazz trailed by 14.
Then in the second half, Hayward scored 14 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to put the Jazz down one.
Then on the following offensive possession, Hayward got an assist on the game-tying basket from Rudy Gobert with three seconds left.
In overtime, Gordon scored three of Utah’s 13 points. Sacramento had a one-point lead with eight seconds left, but Gobert tipped in a Hill air-ball as the clock expired to give Utah a thrilling 110-109 overtime victory.
Entering Sunday, the Jazz were one game ahead of the Clippers for the fourth seed in the West.
“Every game is very important, especially with the way we’re battling for position in the West,” Gordon said. “That’s why the games where you drop them, especially at home, those are killer. They’re critical losses. Hopefully we don’t have any more of those.”
Now the Jazz hold a 1.5-game lead over the Clippers with 19 games remaining.
Hayward and the Jazz will look to add to that lead and cut down Houston’s five-game lead on the three seed Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.