Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward's buzzer-beater bounces away as Pacers survive Jazz's upset bid

Published: Sunday, March 2 2014 6:50 p.m. MST

In a moment of good theater, with some fans even wearing No. 20 Jazz jerseys and blue-and-gold Pacers fans screaming, Hayward rushed down court, stopped behind the 3-point arc, and unleashed a 26-footer before time expired.

Just as you'd envision games to end in Indiana.

“I thought it looked good,” Corbin said. “They ran the play right, he came off, and (Favors) hit him in stride and he had a good look.”

Unlike in his high school championship game, however, this potential game-winner bounced the wrong way. Just like the half-court shot he missed with Indianapolis-based Butler in the 2010 NCAA championship against Duke four years ago.

“I wanted that one,” Hayward said of Sunday’s last effort. “It was close and it looked good from my angle, just back-rimmed it.”

While Indiana’s David West (25 points), Paul George (22 points) and a championship-level team walked off with a hard-earned win, the Jazz didn’t take the game as a complete loss.

Corbin liked his team’s offensive execution, interior play that included a 36-32 edge in paint scoring, and weak-side rotations on defense. The most glaring fault was Utah’s 18 turnovers, which Indiana converted into 24 points.

The Jazz coach, whose team plays at Milwaukee on Monday night, was excited about lessons to be learned and called the down-to-the-wire thriller “a great step forward for us." That’s especially true considering Utah’s 99-79 clunker in Cleveland on Friday.

“They’re playing well enough together,” Corbin said of the young guys. “These are the situations that you have to go through and grow through as a group. I thought they responded very well tonight.”

“I’m proud of us for fighting there,” Hayward added. “We could have given up, but we gave ourselves a shot, gave ourselves a look.”

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


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