The sellout crowd was already standing, as Gordon Hayward dribbled to the basket, with time winding down and looking to break a game deadlocked at 103.
The play, an angle pick-and-roll that the Jazz had had some success with earlier in the game, was drawn up for Hayward, who’d put together one of his best night’s of the season.
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Derrick Favors’ job was simple enough.
"The play was to set a screen for G and let Go do what he do," Favors said.
As Hayward attacked, L.A.’s Xavier Henry and Robert Sacre followed.
Forward Jordan Hill came over to block a shot.
The ball left Hayward’s hand and floated up in the air.
"I knew I had it then," Favors said.
In a game that saw 16 ties and 14 lead changes, the Jazz’s fourth-year big man put an emphatic stamp on the contest, bending the rim with a two-handed put-back to give the Jazz a 105-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Favors finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and a highlight-reel dunk that - after a Jodie Meeks air ball at the buzzer - proved to be a game-winner, helping the Jazz improve to 9-23 on the year.
"I’ll take Derrick Favors against anybody in the NBA jumping for a rebound," said forward Marvin Williams, who had 16 points and seven boards of his own. "I feel bad for whoever was under him."
The win came against a Lakers squad missing its biggest names. Kobe Bryant is still weeks away from a return from a fractured kneecap. Steve Nash is rehabbing from injury, too. And forward Pau Gasol didn’t travel with the team as he deals with a respiratory infection.
All that hardly mattered to the Jazz on Friday night.
"They’re still the Lakers and they still have great players over there," Favors said.
Chris Kaman, starting in place of Gasol, set the tone early, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the first half. He also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game.
But Utah was up to the task.
Hayward finished with 24 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the win.
The Jazz suffered a momentary scare as rookie point guard Trey Burke rolled his ankle late in the first quarter as he tried to contest a Jordan Farmar shot. X-rays came back negative and after his ankle was re-taped, Burke returned to action. He scored 7 straight points in the second quarter to erase a Laker lead and help give the Jazz a 55-52 halftime advantage.
Burke finished with 14 points, seven assists but also seven turnovers.
For L.A., guard Nick Young came off the bench to score 13 of his team-high 21 points in the third quarter.
Young, however, wasn’t on the court for the final 5:45 after fouling out.Next Page >
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