Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward has a rough birthday
OKLAHOMA CITY — Gordon Hayward had a rough birthday.
And it wasn't just because he missed 9 of 10 field-goal attempts Wednesday in the Utah Jazz's 106-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That didn't help things any, as you can imagine.
But Hayward's birthday first hit the wrong note at shootaround.
Perhaps you've heard of the Jazz's tradition of making rookies serenade teammates with the ole "Happy Birthday" song on their big days?
With Hayward celebrating his arrival to the age of legality — to drink, not drive — both NBA newcomers Jeremy Evans and Derrick Favors had to sing to Hayward.
But it wasn't a duet.
This musical performance was done by a trio — one that included the new 21-year-old.
"I had to sing 'Happy Birthday' to myself, which is awkward," Hayward said. "You should try doing it to yourself sometime. It's kind of hard to do."
Hayward could've thought of a million better ways to celebrate, like perhaps with endless amounts of salad and a 21-breadstick salute at the Olive Garden.
Anything but the melodic tribute he received and participated in.
"It's a good birthday present," Hayward said with a heavy amount of sarcasm in his voice.
Apparently, these singers won't be advancing in American Idol anytime too soon.
"It was terrible," Evans admitted with a chuckle.
As for his performance on the court, Hayward believed it also left room for improvement.
Hayward ended up guarding — and being defended by — the lanky Kevin Durant for part of the night, so that certainly wasn't a birthday cakewalk on either end.
"Obviously, I've got to make more shots. I had good looks. I just couldn't finish them," Hayward said. "Next time, I shoot to make it. Playing against the NBA's best is invaluable, so I'll take this as a learning experience and try to improve on it for the next game."
For the day, Hayward finished with seven points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, one turnover and an unspecified number of missed notes.
TIME TO DEVELOP?: Coach Tyrone Corbin insisted he won't play his younger guys extra minutes just to give them more experience for the future.
That, in a sense, would be a sign the Jazz have given up on the season.
Because of injuries, especially Andrei Kirilenko's game-ending bruised knee, Hayward played 28 minutes and Evans logged 15. Favors dressed but didn't play — a pregame decision — because of his sprained left ankle.
"We'll play the match-ups as they are," Corbin said. "We'll play the lineups that we think give us the best chance to win until something different (happens). We're still trying to win games. We're developing guys as we're trying to win games, and that's the way we're going to continue to approach it."
'T' TIME: Corbin received his second technical foul as a head coach in Wednesday's loss when he apparently used words that were not included in OKC's in-arena pregame prayer.
The tech was Corbin's third on the season — including one assessed to him as an assistant under Jerry Sloan — and ties him for third-most on the team with Earl Watson and Francisco Elson.
Some NBA-approved charity will appreciate the $7,500 donation ($2,500 apiece), no doubt.
Raja Bell has received a team-high seven technicals, although he said one was rescinded by the league earlier in the season. Deron Williams also racked up seven before being traded.
On the season, the Jazz have been T'd up 39 times by 12 different players and coaches.
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