Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — There were several indicators at EnergySolutions Arena that showed how Saturday night was a good one for the Utah Jazz.
You know it’s a good night when Gordon Hayward can laugh off a late-game error.
You know it’s a good night when confetti falls from the rafters despite a 13-point deficit.
You also know it’s a good night when Derrick Favors gets a double-double with a sore hip, when Enes Kanter has a monster scoring game off the bench, and when a fan’s half-court attempt during a timeout promotion comes closer than Washington guard John Wall’s last-second game-tying attempt from 33 feet away.
Final score on this good night for the home team: Jazz 104, Wizards 101.
“I thought it was a good win,” Hayward said. “Obviously not the way we wanted to close out a game, but good to get the win.”
After consecutive blowout losses to the Timberwolves followed by three days off, the Jazz will take any positive outcome they can get.
Now, about that closing-out part Hayward referred to after his team improved to 15-29.
Long after it fell behind by 13 points in the second quarter, Utah seemed to have things under control when rookie point guard Trey Burke calmly snapped the net from 3-point land with 1:23 remaining.
Burke, who finished with 12 points and eight assists in his first matchup with Wall, gave the Jazz a fairly comfortable six-point lead with his fourth 3-pointer of the night.
But that just set up a wild finish.
Wizards forward Trevor Ariza cut Utah’s lead in half with his own trey with 52 seconds to go.
Of course he did.
Ariza scored 23 points, including a brilliant 6-of-10 showing from 3-point range.
The Jazz had one heck of a time trying to send Washington out of Utah with a loss in the final minute.
Burke missed a short runner on the Jazz’s next possession, Hayward turned the ball over with a pass that was closer to Favors’ feet than his hands with 21.5 seconds to go, and Alec Burks split a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
Wall, who struggled until scoring nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, made things really interesting by banking in a long ball after Burks’ free-throw miss. That 3 cut the Jazz’s lead to 102-101 with 3.6 left.
The final 2.6 seconds included two redemption free throws by Hayward and Wall’s errant last-ditch effort for overtime.
Telling of the final outcome, Hayward chuckled when asked to explain his turnover.
“I was throwing (Favors) a ground ball. He should have got that,” Hayward said, grinning. “It was obviously a terrible pass. I was fortunate that we were able to get the win. That’s not the way you want to close out a game, especially with a turnover late like that. I’m happy that we won.”
It certainly helped that the Jazz got a huge effort from their bench, including Kanter’s 24-point explosion after rough outings against the T-Wolves.
“I had — we had — a few bad games and I personally was really bad two games against Minnesota,” Kanter said. “But tonight we had to come out with lots of energy and today my coaches gave a lot of confidence and we’ve been practicing really hard.”
The Jazz had Wednesday off but then hit the Zions Bank Basketball Center courts for two days of practice on Thursday and Friday in a rare break in the schedule.
- BYU basketball: Cougars outlast San Francisco...
- Ranking the best NBA players to ever come out...
- WCC Championship game tale of the tape, BYU...
- San Francisco coach apologizes for postgame...
- BYU football: Bronson Kaufusi excited about...
- BYU basketball: Tyler Haws passes Russell...
- BYU report card vs. San Francisco: Cougars...
- Photo story: What teenagers taught me at the...
- BYU basketball: Cougars outlast San... 82
- Utah basketball: Runnin' Utes come up... 74
- High school boys basketball: 5A/4A/1A... 57
- BYU basketball: Despite dearth of... 34
- Utah basketball: Runnin' Utes eager to... 31
- BYU basketball: Bottom seed LMU knocks... 26
- San Francisco coach apologizes for... 25
- Krystkowiak asks Runnin' Utes to stay... 24