Coach trusted me enough at the end of the game to keep me in, so I couldn't let him down. —Derrick Favors
SALT LAKE CITY — According to society, Derrick Favors hasn't yet reached the so-called legal age.
But forget all the things the 20-year-old is not able to do because of his age — renting cars, buying or drinking adult beverages, entering night clubs, running for Congress or president and, well, almost everything in Sin City.
On Saturday night, Favors showed he's reached the age of domination.
Favors, as teammate C.J. Miles tweeted after the game, was "the man" on this night.
No I.D. check necessary.
In Al Jefferson's absence, Favors had the game of his young NBA career, scoring 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz to a 99-92 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors at EnergySolutions Arena.
"You see why he was the third pick in the draft right now," Jazz guard Alec Burks said. "He's a monster, and he showed that tonight. … Al's out and he showed what he could do."
And he did that on multiple occasions — on both ends of the floor.
The Jazz needed to tie the game to force overtime?
Hey, there's the 6-foot-10 Favors storming through the lane on a perfectly executed pick-and-roll with Devin Harris for a power jam and clutch free throw with 27.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
"It was fortunate Devin turned the corner. Derrick did a great job of diving right behind him," Corbin said, explaining the game-tying pick-and-roll play. "Great pass, great finish. He made the free throw. We were in a new ballgame."
Utah needed a defensive stop to prevent the Warriors from going ahead in the final seconds of regulation?
Oh look, Favors rejected Nate Robinson's game-tying effort and even gave Utah a chance to win.
"I am just coming out here and playing my game. Rebounding and defense — that's my game," Favors said. "Coach trusted me enough at the end of the game to keep me in, so I couldn't let him down."
Who'd step up for the Jazz and give the home team the early edge in overtime after trailing to the Warriors most of the game and blowing a fourth-quarter lead?
You guessed, Favors — by winning the tip and then scoring four points in a 6-0 OT-opening run to finally put the Jazz on the path to win this much-needed game.
"He was relaxed," Corbin said. "I thought he did just a great job of coming ready to play and not forcing things early and letting the game come to him, and as a result he had a great game."
Harris, who's seen Favors make "tremendous" strides since they played together in New Jersey last season, called the second-year big's performance "incredible."
The Jazz's starting point guard rattled off a list of things Favors did well, too — from rebounding (besting the career-high of 16 he had Thursday), to taking his time to make good post moves, to confidently shooting jumpers to nailing all nine free throws.
"He's continuing to get better," Harris said, "and the more he plays obviously the better he's going to be."
Favors took it upon himself to be more aggressive and to put some of the offensive load on his shoulders with Jefferson being back home with family for his grandmother's funeral.
"I know he's down in there in Mississippi saying, 'Way to hold me down,' " Favors said, smiling.
The Jazz were also missing starter Raja Bell and backup point guard Earl Watson, but others stepped up to help Utah eke this one out.
Paul Millsap had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Harris and Gordon Hayward each chipped in with 12 points. Jamaal Tinsley came off the bench to provide a nice offensive punch with 13 points, while rookie Enes Kanter grabbed a baker's dozen worth of boards as Utah outrebounded Golden State 65-40.
"Everybody had to step up," Favors said. "Al's a big part of this team. Everybody came out and had to step up, including myself."
Though both teams played offensively like they were barely good enough to receive an invitation to the CIT or CBI tournaments — both shot 41 percent — the ending was quite dramatic.
Hayward made the back-to-back plays of the game from a highlight standpoint when he blocked a shot on one end and then hammered down a two-handed slam on the other end to tie it at 82-82.
But Nate Robinson hit two freebies and drilled a 3-pointer to give Golden State an 87-84 lead with 32.4 seconds left — and this from a team many claim are trying to tank the season to keep their first-round pick that will go to Utah if it's lower than No. 7.
But that only proved to set the stage for Favors to show that he's coming of age in the NBA. He felt the pressure to seize the opportunity given to him with Jefferson out.
"It comes with a big responsibility," Favors said. "I've got to come out every night and be ready to play, whether it's scoring, defense, rebounding, whatever. I've just got to be ready."
His Rising Star teammate believes he is, too.2 comments on this story
"He had a great game," Hayward said. "I don't want to blow it up because I think it could be an every day thing for him. He's that good. We need another one of those tomorrow."
That would be even more impressive considering Favors will be pitted against All-Star Andrew Bynum and the Los Angeles Lakers in a Staples Center showdown. A win would be huge for Favors and the Jazz, who are finally back to .500 at 22-22.
"We're trying to get back into the playoff race," Favors said. "We've got to start playing like a playoff team and I think we showed that tonight."