Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors to start, Butler reunion for Hayward and Stevens, Olynyk on Stockton
Ross D. Franklin, AP
SALT LAKE CITY — For a couple of teams with only 19 wins apiece, there sure are some intriguing storylines heading into tonight’s matchup between the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics.
Here’s a look at some of the hot topics at today’s shootaround, which included Derrick Favors' injury, the Butler reunion between Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens, and Boston's Kelly Olynyk on the Stocktons:
— Center Derrick Favors wil start after missing the past three games with a sprained right hip. He particiapted in shootaround and felt good enough to be reinserted into the lineup. The Jazz certainly can use his help, considering they’ve lost three in a row without him and are 0-9 when he hasn't played this season.
“It feels a lot better,” Favors said about his hip, adding he’s spent a lot of time resting and receiving treatment.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Favors "looked good" while working out Sunday and during this morning's shootaround.
The Celtics will be without center Jared Sullinger (concussion), guard Avery Bradley (ankle) and center Vitor Faverani (knee). Point guard Rajon Rondo will play.
Utah will go with a starting lineup that includes Favors, Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams. The Jazz are 19-36 overall, but have gone 16-9 when that unit starts.
— The biggest side story of the night is the reunion between former Butler University guys Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens, the Celtics coach. Hayward led the Bulldogs to the 2010 NCAA championship game while being coached by Stevens.
“It’ll definitely be weird still just because I had so many games where he was my coach. Especially when you run past him when you’re in the game and he’s calling out different things, that’s the weird part because I’m used to looking over at him,” Hayward said. “But it has been four years. I’m happy for everything that he’s done and I’m excited for today to compete against him again.”
— The fourth-year Jazz shooting guard and Stevens, hired by Boston last July, went to dinner in Salt Lake City on Sunday night.
“We caught up, mostly just about life, not really about basketball that much,” Hayward said. “We did talk about the ejection (Saturday in Sacramento). I had to give him something-something about that. It was just good catching up with him, good seeing him.”
— Hayward laughed when asked about Stevens’ ejection.
“He said, ‘No comment on that one.’ He didn’t think it was necessarily the right thing,” Hayward said. “I told him if he wants to get ejected tonight that’s fine too.”
— Stevens on Hayward as an NBA player vs. a Butler player:
“He’s so much stronger. He’s so much more diverse in his game, both offensively and defensively. In college, his freshman year, we had him guarding point guards, because he wasn’t strong enough to guard on the interior. In the second year, we had him guarding fours, because he was strong enough. He was so bright he could help us in our rotations on the backline.
“Now I’m watching him guard twos and threes, and in this league those are some of the best players (and) he does so at such a high level.”
Stevens continued to praise Hayward’s offensive improvement.
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