Preseason Game F: Jazz 99 – Lakers 94: The Gordon Hayward Game

October 18th, 2010 | by Spencer Hall

by Fareed Taghvaee
Special to Salt City Hoops
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Hayward’s Big Night leads Jazz to rare win in Staples

The Utah Jazz remain unbeaten in the preseason with a 99-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. All you need to know about the game is this: Gordon Hayward had a breakout performance with 26 points and 5 rebounds and Kobe Bryant showed he is still a beast by putting on a vintage performance in the third quarter. CJ Miles, Al Jefferson and Andrei Kirilenko added 15, 14, and 13 points respectively. These same teams go at it again Tuesday in Anaheim, and yours truly will likely be in attendance.

Hayward Breaks Out

The rookie out of Butler had a big time game against the reigning champs. Let’s repeat that line again: 26 points and 5 rebounds in a win against the Lakers at Staples. Hayward had his best offensive night, but did it in the most impressive way. He got points coming off baseline screens, jumpers from the elbow, wide open shots and baskets in transition. He had what I thought to be the play of the game with the baseline fake on Devin Ebanks, which lead to an acrobatic layup.

Hayward should get at least ten minutes a game early in the season. Jerry Sloan clearly appreciates what Hayward brings to the game. We haven’t seen many Jazz rookies this smart, this early. Tonight Hayward showed a glimpse of the player he could turn into. He may never be a consistent 20 ppg scorer, but he could thrive in this offense. His ability to hit jumpers, get to the basket and pass could turn him into a 13-16 ppg scorer. And while he showed his potential tonight, consistency will be his his biggest challenge this season. His other challenge will be managing the boarding passes for the Gordon Hayward Bandwagon. It’s filling up fast.

Rotations Set?

Jerry Sloan played 11 players tonight, and the remaining spots in the rotation will be decided by as the winner of the backup point guard battle. Ronnie Price plays hard and makes energy plays, but his inconsistency and predictable poor decisions hurt his momentum. Earl Watson has been steady, but unspectacular. Watson had the unfortunate task of guarding Kobe Bryant in the 3rd quarter and had and excellent view as Kobe poured in 19 points before mercifully sitting out for the fourth quarter. To Watson’s credit, he maintained composure on the offensive end of the court and kick started the Jazz rally that carried into the fourth quarter.

Andrei Kirilenko has been energetic and solid. His mini stat lines look similar to the AK of the past. His consistency in the preseason is impressive and bodes well for the Jazz this season. A happy AK is a productive AK and he seems to be both happy and healthy. The energy he provides is best served from the bench, in my opinion. I think a strong week from Hayward could land him starting at three alongside Raja Bell.

Mr. Whatupdoe? himself has really played himself out of the starting lineup, but in a good way. CJ Miles’ ability to be a scoring punch and spark off the bench may have landed him a role on the bench. It is worth noting that CJ had a very sneaky stat line (15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals). A second unit featuring AK and CJ Miles would be very strong.

Technically speaking

The new technical foul rules continue to muddy the game. Laker rookie Devin Ebanks was the latest victim. His late technical for a demonstrative gesture after being called for a foul all but sealed the game for the Jazz. Prior to his “outburst” there were veterans on both teams with similar reactions. Not to mention Lamar Odom hanging on the rim with no repercussions. Now I know that Kevin Garnett did get kicked out of a game because of the rule, but will there be a veteran exception? Will the rule even last? Read Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s screed against the new rules.

Tweet of the Night

“Big Fez tells LA crowd about elbow to Odom, ‘if he dies, he dies’.” – @1BIGVIC

ESPN AP Recap | Boxscore

Next game:
Jazz at Lakers, Tuesday, October 19, 2010.
The Pond at Anaheim at 8pm Mountain Time.

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
Spencer Hall
Spencer Hall

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One Comment

  1. C33 says:

    Yes, it was only preseason, and yes, it was mostly the 2nd squad, but it was still the Lakers and the 2nd squad is mostly whom Hayward will see anyway. His breakout performance and new-found comfort in the Sloan system bodes well for the future of the franchise and should be lauded.

    Ron Artest went right at him and he held his ground, battling back at him.

    This Jazz team just feels like it’s reached another level. That or they now have enough talent that the Lakers don’t feel out of reach anymore.

    The progression of the new faces is visible game-by-game, as they settle into the complex sets, screens, and cuts without having to think about it anymore.

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