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Hayward leads Jazz past Lakers

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz and their fans don’t care if Kobe Bryant plays or not.

Beating the Los Angeles Lakers is always fun for the NBA crowd in this part of the country, especially when it snaps a three-game losing streak.

Small forward Gordon Hayward scored 31 points to help the Utah Jazz get back on a winning track with a 94-85 victory over the Lakers on Friday at EnergySolutions Arena.

“Great win for us,” Hayward said. “Anytime the Lakers come in, it’s good to get a win.”

Hayward shot 12 for 18 from the field, including a 4-of-7 night from 3-point range, to lead both teams in scoring.

The 6-foot-9 swingman’s biggest trey came during an 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter when the Jazz broke open a tight game.

“We just tried to play through (Hayward) and he was really doing a phenomenal job of finding the open guys,” Jazz point guard Trey Burke said, “and we were able to take advantage of it.”

The victory was the first for Utah (14-26) at home this calendar year, improving the squad’s season record at its arena to 7-12.

Guard Nick Young scored 23 points off the bench for the Lakers, including 18 in the second half. He hit all 13 free-throw attempts in the loss.

“It’s a back-to-back. Once we started getting back into the groove, we started trying to push the tempo a little bit,” Young said. “Once you see one three go in, it gets your confidence going and you continue to play.”

The Lakers (12-29) were playing without Bryant, and they lost their fourth in a row.

Bryant remained in Los Angeles following Thursday’s 109-102 loss to Cleveland at Staples Center. The 36-year-old star has been taking occasional nights off in back-to-back situations to preserve his health.

“(Bryant) knows how to get guys the ball,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “The second part of it is we just didn’t do a good job of moving the ball. It’s as simple as that.”

The Lakers’ 21 turnovers certainly didn’t help.

Despite his big second half, Young also had a costly technical foul in the key stretch as Utah pulled away in the fourth. Hayward made the ensuing technical free throw and then hit his big 3-pointer after a Derrick Favors bucket.

Favors finished with his 14th double-double. The forward scored 18 points with 10 rebounds to go with three assists and two blocked shots.

Burke also had a big night for the improving Jazz, scoring 20 points with four assists.

“He had 19 shots, but I thought he was unselfish,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Burke, who shot 7 of 19 for the game and 4 of 9 from deep. “When you’re a player that’s capable of scoring and that’s what has been asked of you for a long time, being able to find that balance is a process. There were a couple of passes he threw tonight that he should be really proud of.”

Center Jordan Hill had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers. Power forward Carlos Boozer, who led the Jazz to the 2007 Western Conference Finals, received boos every time he entered the game. He finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

The Jazz actually shot worse than the Lakers, finishing 36 for 85 (42.4 percent) from the field compared to 47 percent shooting for L.A. The difference came at the 3-point line as Utah hit 12 of 31, including four apiece from Hayward and Burke. The Lakers were just 3 of 8 beyond the arc.

Rookie guard Rodney Hood, the 23rd overall draft pick, played after missing the past seven games with left foot inflammation. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward finished with five points and five rebounds and received a technical foul (along with Lakers guard Wayne Ellington).

NOTES: An interesting dietary tidbit was revealed about G Kobe Bryant: The Lakers’ star includes bone broth in his daily diet for health purposes. “I’ve been doing the bone broth for a while now,” Bryant told “It’s great — energy, inflammation. It’s great.” … The Jazz signed G/F Elijah Millsap to a second 10-day contract Thursday. The 27-year-old, who’s the younger brother of Paul Millsap, averaged 24 minutes in his first five games with Utah. … Jazz coach Quin Snyder admitted he was “disappointed” Millsap got a technical foul during his first 10-day stint. “It’s not OK. He knows that,” Snyder said, adding he wasn’t impressed that rookie Joe Ingles has accumulated two T’s. “You’ve got to be smarter than that. It’s the wrong approach philosophically. You’re going to (complain) about a call instead of doing what you need to do better.” … Lakers G Ronnie Price, a former Jazz and Utah Valley University guard who lives in Utah in the offseason, did not play because of a fractured nose and sore right elbow.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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