Kurt Helin

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, right, is held by  Miami Heat forward Gerald Green, left as he drives to he basket during an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Heat 98-83. (AP Photo/George Frey)
Associated Press

Gordon Hayward scores 34 points, Jazz defeat Heat 98-83

4 Comments

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jazz forward Gordon Hayward had no particular plans to shoulder a heavier load with the team short-handed and dressing only three wing players due to injury Saturday night. It just happened to work out that way.

Hayward scored a season-high 34 points and Utah beat the Miami Heat 98-83 to break a three-game losing streak.

“Once I saw a couple go in, the basket opened up and I was able to get some more,” Hayward said. “I knew I needed to be aggressive throughout the game. I was turning the ball over so much (early), I might as well throw it at the rim. Would’ve been better than giving them the ball. Just an aggressive mindset.”

Hayward came out of the locker room after a passive first half and scored 18 points in the third quarter, including nine in a row to give the Jazz a 68-60 lead. Utah outscored the Heat 27-19 in the period.

The Heat got as close as four in the fourth, but a late 6-0 run pushed the lead back to 88-78.

“It’s a really good win for our team,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve talked about trying to get better throughout whatever challenges we have with injury and fatigue on back-to-backs and playing through adversity.

“I think our players could’ve been down. And we just tried to maintain the strength of character as a group and not let those things affect us. That’s a credit to our players. … I’m not sure I could do what they’re doing right now.”

Trey Burke scored 11 points off the bench and Raul Neto matched a career high with 13 for the Jazz.

Chris Bosh led the Heat with 24 points, and Goran Dragic added 16. Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Dwyane Wade was held to eight points on 3-for-17 shooting.

The Heat shot just 30.4 percent from the field after halftime.

“Hayward really got it going and they read our schemes and what we were doing defensively,” Wade said, “and they did a great job getting the things they needed from our schemes.”

Miami jumped out to a 29-19 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to 11 points from Dragic.

A pair of baskets by Burke spurred a 9-2 Jazz run at the beginning of the second quarter that cut the Heat lead to three, but Miami responded with a 6-0 spurt itself and took a 49-45 lead into halftime.

“They started making some shots. The pick-6s and those turnovers really gave them some life,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They made big shots when they need to. Extra possessions, all that stuff they were able to get and we weren’t able to stop the avalanche in the last 6 minutes.”

TIP-INS

Heat: It was the second of a six-game road trip for the Heat. Their current stretch includes 12 of 14 games on the road. Twelve road games this month is the franchise record for January. … Miami shot 55.6 percent in the first half. … Wade hurt his shoulder in the third quarter, but was able to return to the game. He’ll be evaluated further by the Miami medical staff.

Jazz: Utah shot 51.4 percent from the field in the first half. … Trevor Booker went to the locker room late in the first half. He returned for the second half. … Chris Johnson started his first game of the year and scored a season-high 14 points.

 

Blazers’ Terry Stotts thinks Warriors can reach 72 wins

1 Comment

At 34-2, the Golden State Warriors are on pace to go 77-5 this season.

That has a lot of fans asking “can they break the Michael Jordan/Bulls record of 72-10?”

The Warriors dodge that question when asked. But after his team became the latest Warriors victim, Trail Blazers’ coach Terry Stotts answered it for them — yes they can. Via Sean Michael Meagher (hat tip Eye on Basketball):

If they can stay relatively healthy, the Warriors have a chance — but things are going to get harder as the season wears on.

The Warriors have the fourth easiest schedule in the NBA so far — they have played the Cavaliers once (Christmas Day) and have yet to face either the Thunder or Spurs. They have eight games still ahead against those other serious contenders. Also, the Warriors trust the body/health monitoring analytics gear that players wear during practices, and at some point later this season it will tell them to rest guys like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson for nights, making the Warriors more vulnerable.

The Warriors have the point differential of a team 30-6, according to Basketball-Reference.com, meaning the Warriors have been a little bit lucky so far. That kind of luck tends to balance out over the course of a season.

The Warriors to a man say they are not focused on the outcome yet, just the process. But this is also a team trying to establish its legacy up their with some of the great squads of all-time, and breaking the win total would be another significant step on the way to doing just that. My guess is that if the Warriors get to mid-march, with a month to go in the season, and they have a good shot at the record it will become more of a priority.

But for now, they know their ultimate legacy will be determined by rings more than regular season accomplishments.

Kobe Bryant picks up assist with pass through Kevin Durant’s legs

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant, left, yells to his team as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
1 Comment

Kobe Bryant has his moments — he put up 19 points on the Thunder Friday night. Sure, it took 20 shots, but he had his moments and the Lakers were scrappy. Lou Williams dropped 44, and the Lakers made a fourth quarter run, but the Thunder made enough plays to get the 117-113 win.

But maybe the play of the game — if not Russell Westbrook‘s missed dunk — was when Kobe picked up an assist to Julius Randle with a pass through Kevin Durant‘s legs.

Suns sign guard Lorenzo Brown to 10-day contract

Lorenzo Brown, K.J. McDaniels
Leave a comment

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns signed guard Lorenzo Brown to a 10-day contract Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Brown averaged 16.4 points, 6.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 16 games this season for the Grand Rapids Drive in the NBA Development League.

The former North Carolina State player averaged 4.2 points in 29 games last season for Minnesota. He averaged 2.5 points in 26 games for Philadelphia as a rookie in 2013-14.

On Thursday, the Suns waived guard Bryce Cotton and forward Cory Jefferson.

Former NBA player Jordan Crawford scores 72 in Chinese league game

Jordan Crawford, Jodie Meeks
1 Comment

The Chinese Basketball Association has a reputation for a few things, among them: Nobody plays defense.

As the latest evidence (outside the fact Stephon Marbury still has an active career) comes via former NBA fringe player Jordan Crawford (he was in camp with the Bulls this preseason). We last saw him a couple of years ago on Mark Jackson’s Golden State teams.

Crawford scored 72 points in a game in China, according to multiple reports. He is playing for the Tianjin Ronggang Golden Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association. He shot 21-of-40 for the game, including 4-of-12 from three, he added 16 rebounds/

Despite all that Gold Lions lost the game, falling to 5-23 on the season.

Crawford may be best remembered as a high school player who dunked on LeBron during a summer pickup game. The video of that got out despite Nike trying to confiscate the cameras in the gym that day.