Jazz notes: Jeremy Lin meet NBA's Asian pioneer Wat Misaka
Jeremy Lin had a busy schedule after arriving late to Utah with the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening.
The Houston point guard made it to the final minutes of a Sundance Film Festival screening after a snowstorm grounded the team in Grand Junction, Colo. Then, prior to playing the Jazz on Monday, Lin was introduced to former University of Utah guard Wat Misaka, who won a national championship with the Utes in 1944 and became the first Asian-American to play in the NBA when he appeared in three games with the New York Knicks in the 1947-48 season.
Lin described meeting Misaka as "humbling."
Misaka, 89, is a Japanese-American and lives in Ogden.
"He broke a lot of barriers and racial stereotypes," Lin told the Houston Chronicle. "You have to pay respect to the people who came before you."
One game after their top reserve preserved a win over his hometown team, the Jazz are preparing for a hopefully brief stretch without Gordon Hayward.
Hayward sat out the Jazz's game against the Rockets due to a sprain in his right shoulder, suffered as he fought through a David West screen in the final seconds of the Jazz's 114-110 overtime victory over Indiana. Hayward got through, and altered Paul George's potentially game-tying 3, and snatched the loose ball out of the air to preserve the win.
"It shows his toughness," coach Tyrone Corbin said, "and his desire and understanding of the moment. He understood the importance of getting that possession."
Without Hayward, the Jazz leaned more heavily Monday on DeMarre Carroll and Alec Burks.
Hayward is listed as day-to-day, and said following Monday's shoot around that he had full mobility in his arm, but described his shoulder as "very sore and very stiff."
Hayward had not missed a game since his rookie season, appearing in 110 games the past two seasons.
As the Jazz's top reserve, Hayward averages a career-high 13.5 points per game. He leads a bench that averages 36.9 points game. In the absence of Mo Williams, who is still out following right thumb surgery, he has become a late-game option and played point guard in the final minute of regulation against the Pacers a stretch in which he committed three costly turnovers.
However, Corbin said he does not intend to give Hayward fewer opportunities to handle the ball in crunch time when he returns from injury.
"Everybody in the building has a feel that we're going try to go to Al [Jefferson], or one of the guys in the post," Corbin said. "So we have to have something else to throw that off or go to one and come back. And Gordon is one guys we should be able to put the ball in his hands and make plays for us."
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