Favors’ dunk lifts Jazz to 2-point win over depleted Lakers
Derrick Favors made quite an impression with the first game-winning shot of his career — at any level.
Through all his years of playing basketball, even in grade school, Favors had never been the last-second hero.
"My first game-winner ever," Favors proclaimed after he finished with a flourish to beat Los Angeles Friday night. His putback dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining lifted the Utah Jazz to a 105-103 victory over the depleted Lakers.
With the game tied at 103, Gordon Hayward drove to the basket on Utah’s final possession but missed his off-balance attempt as the Lakers converged. Favors grabbed the rebound and slammed the ball home to snap Utah’s four-game home losing streak.
"The two big guys for the Lakers went over and altered his shot a little bit. It went off the rim and I was just there for the offensive rebound," said Favors, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The big man’s follow jam was a relief to the Hayward and the Jazz.
"He came in and cleaned up. I saw him with the finish and that’s all I needed to see," said Hayward, who had with 24 points and nine assists.
Utah coaches called the play for Hayward but reminded their players multiple times "to crash the boards hard," according to Trey Burke.
"We had run that angle pick-and-roll with success throughout the game," Hayward said of the final play. "I tried to get to the basket and put it up on the rim there and give everyone a chance to rebound. They made a mistake by not boxing out Fav."
The ailing Lakers seemed to be fighting back all night. Jodie Meeks tied the game at 99-all, but Hayward hit a 3-pointer, made a steal and hit one of two free throws to put Utah ahead.
Jordan Hill put in a follow and then made a pair of free throws to knot the game at 103 with 18.6 seconds left.
Nick Young scored 21 points in 27 minutes before fouling out with 5:45 remaining and Chris Kaman had a season-high 19 points starting in place of Pau Gasol, who was out with a respiratory infection.
Kobe Bryant (knee fracture) and point guards Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow) remain sidelined for Lakers, who have lost four in a row. Bryant missed his fifth game after a short six-game comeback after Achilles surgery and is not expected back for three to five weeks.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Alec Burks hit 3 of 4 free throws and then tracked down a long rebound and fed the streaking Hayward for a dunk that made it 96-90. The rim-rocking slam brought a thunderous roar from the first sellout crowd of the season since opening night.
"They pumped us up, man. We went on a couple runs and we couldn’t even hear anything," Hayward said. "It’s good to be home."
Down the stretch, the Lakers fought back behind Hill, who had 13 points in the final period.
Marvin Williams scored 16 points, Trey Burke had 14 points and seven assists, and Burks had 13 points for the Jazz, who stopped their worst home skid since losing seven straight in February and March of 2011.
The Jazz are finally starting to learn how to win close games, coming out on top in a contest that featured 14 lead changes and 16 ties.
"The poise we showed down the stretch after we gave up the lead, the fight to make big plays by Derrick and Gordon to win, that shows growth," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Los Angeles did have Jordan Farmar, who had 16 points and seven assists.
"I felt better down the stretch. But my legs were a little heavy and I missed some shots short that I should have made to help us out," said Farmar, who missed 10 games with a hamstring tear and then played 33 minutes against Miami on Christmas Day without the benefit of a full practice, scoring three points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Without Blake and Nash, they don’t have much of a choice but to go with Farmar, who spent last season playing in Turkey.
"I’m going to stay aggressive, keep working and get it back soon so I can help this team take it to the next level," Farmar said.
NOTES: Jazz reserve Mike Harris was not with the team so he could be at the birth of his new baby. . A sizable percentage of the arena cheered loudly for the Lakers, including Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando and his son. . The Jazz have won five of their last six games against the Lakers. . The Lakers reserves outscored the Jazz, 51-26.