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Jazz notebook: Hayward has a couple of great fans — his mom and dad

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 14 2012 11:14 p.m. MST

Utah Jazz forward Paul Milllsap (24) fights for a rebound with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, center, of the Republic of Congo, and Jazz center Al Jefferson, rear, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Oklahoma City won 111-85.

Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gordon Hayward has himself a couple of groupies.

It so happens, they have his last name, too.

Hayward's parents — Gordon and Jody — made quite the trek to watch their son play this week.

And, the second-year Jazz player proudly pointed out, it's definitely not the first time they've hit the road for him.

"They're the best parents in the world," the grateful 21-year-old said.

This particular trip gave the Haywards plenty of time to become familiar with the freeways, landscape and arenas of the South and Midwest.

They drove from Indianapolis to Memphis to New Orleans to Oklahoma City to see the Jazz's back-to-back-to-back contests in person from Sunday through Tuesday.

Driving from the Big Easy to Oklahoma took them 12 hours.

By the time they return to Brownsburg, Ind., Ma and Pa Hayward will have driven approximately 2,300 miles.

And that just scratches the distances these frequent-followers have traveled to watch the younger Gordon.

"Up until I came into the NBA, they've gone to every single game I've ever played," Hayward said. "That includes New Zealand, Italy, games in California."

Hundreds in the Hoosier State, too.

Even some in his home away from home, the Beehive State.

"Sacrifice," Hayward added, respectfully. "They made it into a road trip, these three games. I love them for it."

Unfortunately, the Jazz lost their last two games, and Hayward only played a scoreless 16 minutes in Tuesday's 111-85 defeat to the Thunder.

That showing weighed heavily on the wing player.

With disappointment on his face, Hayward quietly said, "I wish I would have put on a better show for them."

On the bright side, his parents were there to witness one of his best NBA games in Memphis, likely making the whole trip worth their while. In that one, Hayward led the Jazz to a 98-88 win over the Grizzlies on Sunday with a season-best 23 points, five assists and two steals.

WHAT, NO GAME!?: Al Jefferson didn't use playing for the third consecutive night in a different city as an excuse for the Jazz's loss Tuesday.

"I'm fatigued, yeah," the 28-year-old center said. "But if I had to play again (Wednesday) night, I'd be ready to go."

He might not want to give the NBA any ideas.

Between Sunday and Tuesday, Big Al logged a total of 87 minutes and 13 seconds. Throw in Friday's 34-minute night and, yeah, he's glad the schedule-maker gave Utah two days off in a row before they host Washington.

"It sucks because we have a whole day tomorrow to think about the two games we lost in a row," Jefferson said. "But it's good to get some rest and try to bounce back on Friday."

MISC.: Shooting guard Raja Bell increased his 3-point streak to 16 games. ... Utah shot 35.6 percent, marking the seventh time the Jazz have ended under 40 percent this season. ... Jeremy Evans and Jamaal Tinsley both played Tuesday night for the first time since Feb. 2, having each sat out the past six games.

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Blog: Jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com

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