Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward, Eric Gordon renew acquaintances in L.A.
LOS ANGELES — It won't be surprising if NBA-TV's ratings for the Utah Jazz's road game against the Los Angeles Clippers had an especially big audience in Indiana.
And not just because the basketball-crazed state wanted to see the latest, greatest Blake Griffin dunk.
Wednesday's game at Staples Center featured two Hoosier State hoopsters in the teams' starting lineups.
Coincidentally, they both happen to be named Gordon — rookie Gordon Hayward for Utah and Eric Gordon of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Or, as they might call them in Indianapolis, the pride of Brownsburg and North Central high schools.
The two Indy products played against each other for three seasons back in their glory prep days.
Those match-ups happened Hayward's freshman through junior years, and it didn't turn out so well for Utah's Indiana transplant. When the two Gordons met, Brownsburg lost every time to North Central.
Hayward's 2008 team did, however, exact some revenge when the current Clipper, Class of 2007, graduated and left for Indiana. Brownsburg beat NCHS en route to the 2008 state championship.
"The one time we did play (his school) in a tournament he was gone. Actually, that's the one time we actually beat them, too," Hayward fondly recalled.. "I don't know if that's a coincidence."
The Clippers' guard said Indianapolis is a small enough big city that it's still fun to play against another former Hoosier talent — especially one he never lost to in high school.
"I remember playing against him," Gordon said of Hayward, who got his fourth start Wednesday. "He's a lot better than he was then. Yeah, he was a big, tall, lanky kid."
Hayward had his own compliment for his fellow Indianapolis player who is averaging almost 24 points for the Clippers.
"He was a good player then," the Jazz swingman said, "just like he is now."
INJURY UPDATE: Jazz forwards Andrei Kirilenko and C.J. Miles both missed their first games of the season Wednesday at Staples Center.
Miles felt under the weather in the morning and stayed at the team hotel for the team's shootaround. He was still hoping to play but was ruled out about 90 minutes prior to tipoff because of his flu symptoms.
Kirilenko, meanwhile, was unable to go because of his strained lower back — an injury that happened in Monday's game and has set him back several times throughout his career.
Kirilenko didn't participate in shootaround but said that his back spasm is improving, and it remains possible he could play tonight in Portland depending on how he feels this morning.
"I think it'll take a couple of days," Kirilenko said. "It's already feel way better."
Kirilenko is hopeful he'll at least play Saturday when the Jazz host Memphis in a New Year's Night game.
His back muscles started bothering him after he was crashed into while going up for a rebound Monday.
"I can run but the bending and the jumping is very different," he said. "It's weakened me. Yeah, it feels like old man."
Kirilenko said his current back woes are similar to previous problems, but added that the soreness is coming from a higher spot than usual.
The small forward, who's missed at least 10 games every season since 2003-04, still remains positive about his overall health this year.
"I'm feeling very, very excited," he said, "that I've been able to manage it."
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Jazz forward Paul Millsap was dethroned as the NBA's reigning double-double streak champion Wednesday by power forward phenom Blake Griffin. The Clippers' rookie had 16 points by halftime and collected his 10th rebound midway through the fourth quarter to notch his 20th consecutive double-double.
Earlier in the day, Millsap didn't seem too distressed that his mark of 19 consecutive double-doubles was finally in danger of being surpassed. The Jazz power forward had been the only player in the league to rack up that many double-doubles in a row since 2006.
"I forgot it's up for grabs," Millsap said. "It's going to be kind of hard to keep that from happening."
Especially with Griffin tearing it up like he has been while averaging 21.2 points and 12.4 rebounds his first year.
"You just try to do the best you can with him," Millsap said. "He's very athletic. He's going to go after the glass every time. ... He's a special talent."
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