Gordon Hayward spent the whole game attacking. He scored eight points during the first quarter, 12 by halftime and was the Jazz's most aggressive and dynamic player during a night that saw normal stars Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap struggle. But when Hayward walked off the court Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena, the only look on his face was relief. Utah had outlasted and overcome Sacramento. Barely. Led by Hayward's team-high 21 points, five rebounds and four assists, the Jazz downed the Kings, 96-93. But Utah (11-7) watched a 12-point lead with 6 minutes, 8 seconds to go suddenly turn into a slim one-point advantage with 30.5 left on the clock. After recently failing to finish games and suffering tough, late losses to Dallas and Toronto, Hayward's first thought was Raptors Redux. But the Jazz held on, Kings rookie guard Jimmer Fredette air-balled a potential game-winning 3-pointer, and Utah reclaimed a little momentum heading into an important week that will see the team host Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Lakers during a six-day stretch. "We let them hang around, hang around. It was almost like Toronto all over again," Hayward said. "We've got to be able to close teams out. They made some plays, but we have to definitely do better down the stretch execution-wise." Sacramento (6-14) guard Tyreke Evans mimicked the Mavericks' Rodrigue Beaubois, who burned Utah during a road loss Friday. Evans consistently sliced through the lane, alternating contorted layups with power dunks. He finished with game highs in points (31) and assists (nine), and pulled the Kings within 94-93 after converting a close-range basket.
Utah Jazz edge Sacramento Kings, 96-93, after Fredette misfires
Salt Lake Tribune | Jan 29