Utah Jazz: Clean-cut Gordon Hayward helps team whack Dallas Mavericks (+ video)
Ravell Call, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — It might be time to update that old barbershop saying.
Forget two bits.
The shave and haircut Gordon Hayward got Monday afternoon was apparently worth 27 points, six rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and one steal.
Led by the freshly trimmed baby-faced assassin, the Utah Jazz shaved away the Dallas Mavericks' eight-point fourth-quarter lead en route to a 100-94 victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
"Jeff (Hornacek) was joking with me, saying that I finally got the hair out of my eyes and I could see the rim," said Hayward, who was almost as shaggy-looking as Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki at the team's morning shootaround. "It was a fun game tonight. It was good."
It was Hayward's catch-from-behind block of Roddy Beaubois' layup attempt that got things going for the Jazz early in the fourth quarter when they trailed 82-74.
"Try to make a play," said Hayward when asked what was going through his mind. "Any time someone's got a fast-break layup, it's one of my favorite plays to try to run back and block it. It's a big momentum change. You've got the crowd going."
The Jazz kept the crowd of 18,600 riled up throughout the fourth quarter — especially during their game-clinching 13-0 run when they turned Dallas' 86-80 lead with less than six minutes remaining into their own 93-86 lead with 2:19 to go.
It was Hayward's 3-pointer — one of four deep shots for him on the night — that gave the Jazz their biggest lead as they fought off the struggling Mavericks.
Moments earlier, Hayward gave the Jazz the lead for good after he hit a tough drive following his steal.
"He started early," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Hayward, who scored 15 of his 18 first-half points in the second quarter alone. "We want to get the ball in his hands, so he can make plays — not only for himself but for his teammates. He had just a great flowing game on both ends tonight for us."
Hayward, who hit 8-of-14 shots en route to his season-high, continued to dish to his teammates after the game — although it was in the form of praise instead of passes and points.
"I thought my teammates did a great job of finding me, especially when the bigs got doubled," Hayward said. "They did a great job of kicking out and I'm supposed to be able to knock that down so it can open it up to them."
Al Jefferson scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made the defensive play of the game by taking a charge from a driving Nowitzki with 32.2 seconds remaining and the Jazz holding a four-point lead.
"We gotta do what we gotta do to win the game," Jefferson said. "We knew we had to do it on the defensive end, because when Dirk gets to the free-throw line every time, that's all that matters to him, so we knew we had to get a big stop and it worked out for us."
Nowitzki scored 20 points with five rebounds and five assists, but the Mavs floundered against the Jazz's physical defense in the fourth quarter when it mattered most.
Dallas, held to 14 points in the final 12 minutes, dropped to 13-22 after losing for the 12th time in 14 games.
The Jazz, meanwhile, evened their record at 18-18 with their third win in four games.
Corbin pulled a trick out of his sleeves, using an unconventional lineup that included Alec Burks at point guard in the final minutes along with Randy Foye, Hayward, Millsap and Jefferson.
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