Basketball: Hayward’s late free throw lifts Jazz over Warriors
January 9, 2012
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)-Gordon Hayward took the pass from Devin Harris, glanced up at the clock and decided not to wait.
With the game tied and time ticking down from 14.9 seconds, Hayward showed the kind of aggressiveness that had been missing this young season, sprinting up court and drawing a foul on Brandon Rush on a layup attempt between two defenders.
Music to the Jazz’s ears.
Hayward made a go-ahead free throw with 11 seconds remaining to cap a breakout game for the former Butler sensation, lifting the Utah Jazz past the Golden State Warriors 88-87 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.
“I think I got it, I looked at the clock and realized we were tied, so I was going to push it and see what I could get,” Hayward said. “There’s not much better of a look that you can get than a fast-break layup. I just tried to push it and find something.”
After a slow start this season, the lanky forward seemed to finally find his rhythm.
Hayward finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Al Jefferson added 15 points and eight rebounds for a Jazz team that relied on its defense with an off night shooting at just 39.5 percent. The Warriors shot 41.4 percent.
“When we got down, we didn’t break at all,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “The guys kept encouraging each other, `Come on, man, we right in there.’
“It was just great to be a part of.”
Monta Ellis had 32 points and six assists before an all-advised past that led to Hayward’s free throw and missed a running bank shot at the buzzer to send Golden State to its fifth straight loss. Stephen Curry and starting center Andris Biedrins sat out for the second straight game with sprained right ankles for the Warriors
In a season that started out with so much promise under the new ownership’s reconstruction, Golden State is suddenly 2-6 and in last place in the Western Conference under rookie coach Mark Jackson.
“The great teams think, `What’s going to happen now to win this game?”‘ Jackson said. “The teams that have a history of losing think, `What’s going to happen that’s been happening that’s going to cause us to lose?’
“We’ve got to turn it and make things happen.”
An otherwise strong defensive game turned into an offensive outpouring late.
Golden State built a six-point lead in the fourth quarter with a 9-4 run to start the period capped by Brandon Rush’s 3-pointer. A series of turnovers and fouls put the Jazz in prime position to pounce, taking an 81-79 lead on Hayward’s free throws with 4:50 remaining in what became a back-and-forth finish.
After Ellis jumped in the air for a pass that was picked off by Harris, Hayward received the ball and raced up court to draw a foul on Rush at the rim. He made the first free throw to put Utah up 88-87, and the Warriors took over with 9.9 seconds to play after rebounding Hayward’s miss on the second.
Jackson called timeout and put the ball in Ellis’ hands at half court.
Defended by brief one-time Warriors teammate Raja Bell, Ellis let the clock drain down and moved to his right, sending a shot that banked off the glass, touched the back rim and missed. He was 16 for 17 from the free-throw line, the most he has ever made in his career.
“It was a great shot, I’ll take it any day,” Ellis said. “I just didn’t knock it down. Move on from it.”
Said Bell: “You play the percentages, you try to take his right-hand drive away and hope that size will affect his shot and make him lean back a little bit. He missed one. Really, I didn’t have a whole lot to do with it other than taking his angle away and making him shoot a tough one.”
The wounded Warriors shook up the home team’s plans again.
Curry will be examined in Charlotte on Monday night by Dr. Bob Anderson, who performed surgery on the point guard’s troublesome ankle May 25, while Biedrins is expected back sooner.
The Jazz exploited Golden State’s weaknesses in a hurry.
Utah sliced through the paint past backup center Kwame Brown for easy buckets almost at will, and the Warriors’ undersized Nate Robinson-Ellis combo proved passive on defense.
The Jazz created endless passing lanes that led to several uncontested shots, getting off to an 18-6 start highlighted by Hayward’s 3-pointer in the first quarter. The Warriors trimmed that cushion to five early in the second quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers by Robinson, with the 5-foot-9 guard flicking three fingers on both hands after each and waving his arms to the crowd.
After switching to a zone defense and pushing the tempo, a dazzling displaying of acrobaic layups and fadeaway jumpers by Ellis put Golden State in front for the first time in the final minute of the half. He finished with 10 points in the period-and 18 in the half-to give the Warriors a 46-45 lead at the break.
NOTES: Jazz reserve F Jeremy Evans sat out with a stomach virus. … Rookie Charles Jenkins started in Curry’s place but played only 9:51, while Robinson logged 27:16 off the bench. … Golden State’s crowd of 19,596 was its fourth sellout in five home games this season.