Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors dominates when Pelicans lose All-Star Anthony Davis
By Steve Luhm
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Apr 04 2014 10:46PM
After New Orleans lost All-Star Anthony Davis temporarily because of back spasms, the Pelicans lost their grip on Friday night’s game against the Jazz.
With Davis in the locker room during the third quarter, Derrick Favors scored 14 of his 20 points and led Utah to an eventual 100-96 victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
Before tip-off, Davis was listed as day-to-day because of his nagging back spasms. But he started and played 16 minutes in the first half, which the Pelicans controlled before settling for a 45-43 lead.
Davis didn’t play in the third quarter, however, and the Favors-led Jazz made 12 of 19 shots while scoring 30 points.
"I played like crap in the first half," Favors said. "I just wanted to help my teammates more. I wanted to play with energy and try to win the game."
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin dismissed questions about how losing Davis impacted the Pelicans.
"We play our game," he said. "Anthony Davis is their problem. We coach our players."
Although Davis seemed to play with limited mobility in the first half, he helped the Pelicans keep Favors and the Jazz in check. New Orleans built an early 18-13 lead. It was 41-35 late in the second quarter before Utah got within two at halftime.
"We wanted to go right at him because he’s such a good shot-blocker," Corbin said. "You can’t finesse the ball around him. He can stay on the floor and block shots. He did that to Derrick a couple of times early in the game. ... He’s a good player, man."
Favors scored the first basket of the third quarter, giving him six points in the game. Moments later, he scored 10 points in a three-minute stretch, helping the Jazz build a 58-53 lead.
"We just had to make some adjustments," Favors said. " ... There were some things we did to have people move around a little instead of stand still."
Davis returned for the fourth quarter and the Pelicans stayed close behind the play of Anthony Morrow, who finished with 26 points. But the Jazz never relinquished the lead they grabbed when Davis wasn’t in the game.
"They are a little different because, obviously, he’s their No. 1 option," Trey Burke said. "They go to him a lot. They go to that pick-and-roll and look for him to pop.
"Without him in the game, Morrow tried to be more aggressive ... [and] he had a really good game. But we did what we had to do to pull a win out."
Asked about the play of Favors, Burke said, "We need that from him every night -- to score on the block and clean up misses. He had a great game."