HAYWARD'S HOT HAND: Utah shooting guard Gordon Hayward, the team's leading scorer, said that in Tuesday's victory over Oklahoma City, the Jazz showed some signs of maturity they hadn't shown earlier in the season, as they withstood a Thunder-ous rally that trimmed Utah's 24-point lead to just five points in the fourth quarter.
"We got some timely stops, some timely scores, and I don't think earlier in the season we would've been able to do that," he said. "So we're growing as a team and it's good to see that we can withhold somebody's run and make one of our own."
Of course, it didn't hurt Utah's chances any that Hayward scored 25 of his career-high 37 points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter alone — Utah's last 17 points of the game — in the eventual 112-101 victory.
"The team did a good job of getting me the ball and finding me in open positions, and we ran some more sets for me," Hayward said. "You've got to go with somebody who's hot. We've got a lot of guys with a lot of talent, so when somebody's hot, I think you continue to give them the basketball and see what they can do."
A FAMILIAR FACE: Former Jazz swingman C.J. Miles, who spent his first seven NBA seasons in a Utah uniform, poured in a season-high 34 points for the Cavaliers in a victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday, thanks to a franchise-record 10 3-pointers.
Miles, who's averaging 10.1 points per game this season for the Cavs, was 10 of 14 from 3-point range in that game and has scored a total of 74 points (24.7 ppg) in his last three games.
"He can get hot; he gets it going," Utah forward Marvin Williams said of Miles. "I kind of like his style because he's not afraid to shoot the next one.
"If he misses one or two, the next one's gonna go up so you can always appreciate playing with a player like that who's very confident in themselves and their shot. It shows, man, when he makes his first couple early, he can really get going."
BIG FOOTBALL FAN: Williams walked out of the Jazz locker room following Friday morning's shootaround carrying a Seattle Seahawks beanie in hand to pull over his head before leaving ESA.
The Bremerton, Wash., native admitted he's a huge football fan, and is especially one of the Seahawks, who host an NFC playoff game Saturday against the New Orleans Saints.
"I'm ready, man. I'm focused on tonight, but after tonight that's the only game I'm worried about is tomorrow afternoon," Williams said of the Seahawks-Saints matchup. "I love football. To be honest with you, football when I was growing up was my favorite sport. I just kinda grew a little tall and my dad didn't want me to play anymore.
"But I've always followed football very closely, I've always enjoyed watching it and I enjoy playing it. I love basketball, but football is definitely probably my favorite sport."
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