WASHINGTON — Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin decided to shake up his starting lineup for some quick energy for Saturday's game at Washington, but the plan backfired when the Jazz missed their first nine shots from the field and fell behind 11-0.
But Gordon Hayward, one of two regular starters who began the game on the bench, took out his reserve status on the Wizards once he got into the game. He had 13 points in the first half and finished with 15 and a season-high five assists as Utah (5-6) came back to win 83-76 against the only winless team in the NBA at the Verizon Center before 16,210.
"Anytime I can attack the basket and be aggressive, it is a good thing," said Hayward, who learned Saturday morning he would not be in the starting lineup. "It is pretty much the same whether you start or not. I just go out there and play."
"We were able to get the ball in his hands," Corbin said of Hayward.
Al Jefferson had 17 of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter and added 13 rebounds, and Mo Williams added 12 points and six assists for the Jazz. But the play of Hayward in the first half helped Utah escape the embarrassment of losing to the Wizards, who are now 0-8.
"It is a great win for us. We finish the road trip 2-2. We needed one bad," Corbin said of his team's rare road win. "We did not play our best basketball.
"That's who Al is. He understands the sense of urgency and how important it is for him to get going to help us out. We are going to him in key situations."
Derrick Favors and former Wizards' guard Randy Foye made their first starts of the season. They took the respective spots of Marvin Williams and Hayward, who started the first 10 games. Foye had two points and three turnovers in 17 minutes.
"You have to be prepared. You have to be ready," said Favors, who had nine points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. "We stayed together and we got the win. We have to start the game better."
Does Favors have a preference about starting or coming off the bench? "It doesn't matter," he said. "It is all basketball. It doesn't matter."
Corbin said he is not sure if he will keep the same lineup for Monday's home game with Houston. "We will look at it," he said.
Marvin Williams had just seven points but he put the Jazz ahead for good at 67-65 early in the fourth quarter with a field goal. Paul Millsap hustled down a loose ball and scored to make it 74-69 with 6:17 left to play, and his running jump shot made it 80-69 with 4:02 to go and capped a 15-4 Jazz run. Washington got no closer than the final score the rest of the way.
Utah made just 37.8 percent of its shots from the field and had 17 turnovers but won the battle of the boards, 60-44. The hapless Wizards made just 36.5 percent of their shots and allowed 26 offensive boards by Utah.
The Utah bench was 8-of-16 from the field in the first half and had 22 points while the Jazz starters were 5-of-20 and had 16 points. The Jazz bench outscored their Washington counterparts 33-19 on the night.
Utah finally scored on a basket by Mo Williams to make the score 11-2 early. The Jazz took the lead for the first time early in the second quarter, and a dunk by Hayward, off a halfcourt pass from Mo Williams, gave Utah a 27-23 lead before Washington came back to take a 40-38 advantage at the break.
"We wanted to have a chance to shake things up a bit and get off to a better start," Corbin said before the game, referring to the 30 points his team gave up in the first quarter Friday in a loss at Philadelphia. "We want to get more guys involved" early on.
"We need to play hard, play physical and get off to a good start," Foye said before the game.
Washington also made some changes Saturday, with Jordan Crawford (11.3 points per game) and Jan Vesely (2.4) getting their first starts of the season.
"We can't look at the record and think we are going to get a win," Corbin said. "Trust me, they are not up to full speed right now, but they are playing hard and giving themselves a chance to win."3 comments on this story
Trevor Ariza had 16 points in the first half for the Wizards but none in the second half. Crawford had 20 points and Emeka Okafor had 14 rebounds.
Washington played its first eight games without its two best players: former No. 1 draft pick and point guard John Wall, and big man Nene, who returned to practice Friday.
Utah's DeMarre Carroll, who had a career-high 17 points Friday, had seven points against Washington. "To get road wins early in the season is always good," he said.
Especially against the worst team in the league — and one that blew an 11-0 lead.