It had been a long time since neither Paul Millsap nor Al Jefferson had started for the Utah Jazz. In fact, the last time was May 10, 2010, when the Jazz starting frontcourt consisted of Carlos Boozer and Kyrylo Fesenko.
Since then, either Jefferson, acquired that summer in a trade with Minnesota, or Millsap had started every game before both were sidelined by sprained left ankles Friday against the Bobcats.
Jefferson wore a walking boot to Friday’s game, while Millsap missed his second straight game with his injury.
“A few days out I was expecting it to be somewhat fully healed,” Millsap said, “but it’s not. I don’t want to force the issue.”
Millsap averages 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Jazz, while Jefferson is the team leader in both categories with 17.7 points and 9.4 rebounds.
With the veterans out, former lottery picks Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, considered the frontcourt of the future here, started together for the first time. At an average age of 21 years, 76 days, they became the second-youngest pair to start a Jazz game.
It was Kanter’s second career start, and he recorded a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds) by halftime.
Pilars of youth
Randy Foye still wore his hospital ID band when he broke the team record for 3-pointers. A day earlier, Foye missed team practice as one of two Jazz players — Millsap was the other — who welcomed a new family member Thursday.
Both had daughters, and Foye and Millsap nearly gave their baby girls the same name. Foye and his wife named their daughter Pilar, while Millsap and his girlfriend went with Paular, which he said was pronounced the same as the littlest Foye.
The symmetry is fitting for Foye and Millsap, each of whom has three children, all girls.
“It’s cool,” Foye said. “We didn’t actually know that they were going in on the same day to be induced until probably three, four days ago. We joked about that. I’ve never heard about that before. I think that’s probably once in a lifetime.”
About that record
Foye’s 130th 3-pointer carried relatively little impact in the situation it occurred. With 5:26 left in the second quarter, he shot from just left of the top of the key, rattling home one more 3-pointer than any Jazz player in history.
It broke Mehmet Okur’s record 129 makes in the 2006-07 season. Foye tied the record on Wednesday in a loss to the Hawks. Afterward, he said he received congratulations from Okur on Twitter, as well as Jazz assistant and 3-pointer specialist Jeff Hornacek.
“It means a lot,” Foye said, “because I never played against Jeff. But I knew how important Memo was and the shots that he made for this team, and I just think to be mentioned with those guys is truly an honor.”
Center of attention
Millsap was in the maternity ward, and Jefferson maybe should have been at a hospital, too, so the Jazz were a little thin on frontcourt players in practice Thursday.
So, Corbin did something he hasn’t yet been forced to do in games: He put Gordon Hayward in at center.
“He did pretty well,” said Enes Kanter, whom Hayward defended. “He’s pretty strong.”
Not quite strong enough, though. Mo Williams said the Jazz defense had to call a travel on Kanter “even though it wasn’t a travel. We had to help him out a little bit.”
Hayward was sheepish about his role.
“I was mainly just a screener,” he said. “They needed me for defense, blocking shots, that sort of stuff.”