Utah Jazz: Weird loss as Gordon Hayward's shot goes missing, Trey Burke debuts
NEW ORLEANS — Sometimes, NBA games are just flat-out weird.
And, no, that wasn’t a reference to last Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans when the Utah Jazz actually won for the only time in the 2013-14 season.
A week later, the rematch was simply an odd game with an oh-so-usual result.
Avenging their setback in Utah, the Pelicans (5-6) became the latest NBA team to earn a victory against the Jazz with a 105-98 win at New Orleans Arena.
“It was a loss, which was unfortunate,” Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke said. “We hate losing, so we’re going to just look forward to coming out against Dallas and try to get a win (on Friday).”
Yes, that quote was indeed from the guy who now wears No. 3 in a Jazz uniform, which was a good weird.
Burke made his NBA debut after sitting out nearly six weeks with a broken finger, and he looked good doing so. The 6-foot-1 point guard, whom the Jazz traded for on Draft Night in June, was only allowed to play 12 minutes in his first game back but still scored 11 points with one assist, one rebound and zero turnovers.
“I thought he did great. I thought he looked in tune and ready to get the ball in his hands,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “Unfortunately, we were restricted with the minutes for him and had to take him out. But he felt good, he looked good, so I’m happy for him.”
Now, about that other weirdness.
Nobody’s night was more bizarre than the historically weird game Gordon Hayward had.
The good: Hayward dished out a career-high 11 assists, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots.
The bad: The Jazz’s leading scorer only had six points.
The ugly: The shooting guard had the worst shooting night in franchise history, going 1 for 17 from the field and 0 for 8 from 3-point range. Karl Malone had the previous worst night with a 1 for 16 game during his Hall of Fame career, and Thurl Bailey once went 2 for 20.
“For whatever reason, they just didn’t fall tonight. It’s pretty frustrating,” Hayward said. “If I would’ve hit two or three more shots, we probably would’ve won the game. But I missed 16 of them. It’s, whatever, I’ve got to move on.”
Meanwhile, the Pelicans had a couple of guys who seemingly couldn’t miss. 2012 No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis (9 of 12 shots, 22 points) and sharpshooting reserve Ryan Anderson (6 of 9, 19 points). They helped push New Orleans’ lead to 14 points during a quick 14-2 outburst, which ended with back-to-back Anderson treys.
In that spurt, the Pelicans took advantage of a couple of Alec Burks turnovers. In typical Jazz fashion this season, a close game became a blowout defeat.
“Those are mistakes we can’t afford to make, especially on the road,” said Corbin, whose team has lost all seven away games. “Young or whatever, those are mistakes that cost you the game.”
Perhaps the oddest part of Burke’s debut was how it seemed to spark John Lucas III, who’s struggled mightily in his absence. But Lucas, who started at point guard, had his best game with the Jazz in the rookie’s return, hitting his first four 3-point attempts and finishing with a season-high 14 points.
“It feels good. Every time I shoot I feel like my shot is going in,” said Lucas, who’d only hit 24.3 percent from 3-point range before this 4 for 5 performance. “When I was missing, I wasn’t going to back away and not shoot again, because I’m a shooter. To me I feel like it’s the ball, it’s not my shot. That’s my mentality. Luckily, my shots were going in.”
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