For the first time this season, basketball was fun for Gordon
Hayward and the Utah Jazz.
”Once you see that ball go in, the hoop gets wider and guys are
feeding off the energy. It started to become really fun,” Hayward
Hayward had 27 points and 10 assists and Richard Jefferson added
22 points to help the Utah Jazz claim their first victory of the
season, a 111-105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday
”It’s definitely fun when guys are making shots and you’re
whipping the ball around from side to side. And we were getting
some stops too,” said Hayward, who scored 22 points in the second
half to help the Jazz erase a 16-point deficit to put an end to
their worst start in 39 years.
”It’s about time!” Hayward said.
Derrick Favors made a key layup with 24 seconds remaining and
Jefferson added three free throws in the final minute to clinch the
When Marvin Williams hit a 3-pointer to make it 104-100, Jazz
fans leapt to their feet and the Utah reserves bounced around and
high-fived like college players in a postseason tournament.
”We finally got that monkey off our back,” said Favors, who
had 12 points and 12 rebounds. ”We knew sooner or later the
chemistry would show and people were going to hit shots they
Enes Kanter had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who
overcame their worst start to a season since 1974-75, their first
year as an expansion franchise in New Orleans.
Anthony Davis had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans,
who dropped all three games on their Western road swing.
Tyreke Evans, an offseason trade acquisition who has struggled
to find his role in the New Orleans scheme, had a season-high 19
points, with almost all of them coming on drives to the basket.
Jrue Holiday added 19 points for a Pelicans team that was in
control for most the game.
”We had the momentum the whole game,” Davis said. ”We got to
make sure they have no life in them, but we let up and let them
Jason Smith made a layup just after halftime to give New Orleans
a 61-45 lead.
As the most experienced player on the team, Jefferson took a
strong stand in the ensuing timeout huddle.
”There is no more `Let’s get it next time.’ This is
unacceptable! This is our time right now,” he told his teammates,
according to Hayward.
Jefferson became the focal point of a dormant Utah offense in
the third quarter and scored nine points in a 13-2 run.
”He led us tonight. We followed his lead. He’s been through it
all over the years,” Hayward said.
The last time Jefferson scored 22 points was more than three
years ago as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. But the young Jazz
relied on the 12-year veteran, as well as the contributions of
fellow ”old-timer” Williams, who had 12 points and a key block on
Holiday in the final minute.
”The young guys will eventually be great, but this team needs
veterans. We need to take over in spots,” Jefferson said.
The Pelicans built the lead back to 10 before Hayward tied the
game at 70 with his second 3-pointer during a burst of 10 straight
points for the Jazz.
Diante Garrett was set to play for Iowa of the D-League but
arrived in Salt Lake City on Tuesday and ended up playing 22
minutes for the Jazz, who need a point guard while they await the
debut of lottery pick Trey Burke.
Burke is a few weeks from playing while recovering from a
fractured finger. The Jazz released Jamaal Tinsley and benched John
Lucas III after an 0-for-7 shooting start in the game.
”I was shopping at Wal-Mart two nights ago when I got the
call,” said Garrett, who had seven points and five assists and was
running the point in crunch time. ”I haven’t even had a practice
yet but the coach was just drawing up plays on the white board in
timeouts for me.”
His sense of relief at getting through his first game in Utah
was only exceeded by his teammates getting their first taste of
”It’s been tough to sleep at night as a member of the only NBA
team without a win. I hate losing and maybe I’ll finally sleep well
tonight,” Hayward said.
NOTES: Two of the worst-shooting teams in the league combined to
make more than half their attempts, with the Jazz shooting 51.4
percent. … Hayward spent part of the first half with an ice bag
on his shin following a collision in the first quarter. … Greg
Stiemsma sat out the game due to a left knee he sprained in
Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers. … The final margin was Utah’s
largest lead of the game.