SALT LAKE CITY — This is a concept that might be rather difficult for some fans to accept.
Heck, a few folks might even consider it completely inconceivable.
But yes, believe it or not, there were actually several other pro basketball players who took the court Saturday night at Energy-Solutions Arena besides the chosen one named Jimmer Fredette.
Guys like Gordon Hayward, the second-year Jazz forward who broke out of a frustrating shooting slump by scoring a season-high 21 points in Utah's 96-93 victory over Fredette and his Sacramento Kings' teammates.
Guys like Utah swingman C.J. Miles, who gave the Jazz a much-needed lift off the bench by contributing a season-best 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting — one of only two Utah players who managed to shoot over 50 percent for the night.
And guys like shooting guard Alec Burks, who like Fredette is an NBA rookie trying to find his way in the big boys' league and provided some instant offense with eight crucial fourth-quarter points that helped the Jazz (11-7) hold off the fast-closing Kings (6-14).
Though none of them has come close to achieving the kind of folk-hero status reserved for Fredette, the former BYU superstar and favorite son, each of those three Utah players had a huge role in helping the Jazz claim a much-needed win after they had lost three of their four previous games.
"I just tried to be a little more assertive," said Hayward, who buried his first couple of 3-pointers early and wound up 7-of-15 from the floor along with five rebounds, four assists and two steals. "I tried to shoot with confidence."
"I'm still not where I want to be. I missed a lot of open, easy looks. I can just feel there's so much more, but it's a step in the right direction."
Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin was certainly glad to see Hayward cast that cold-shooting monkey off his back.
"He did a great job right from the beginning," Corbin said. "He just came in and wanted to make a statement.
"He's going to attack the basket first. He made a couple of jump shots early. ... He's a passer and wants to put the ball on the floor, and the guys fed off of him. We needed a big game from him tonight and he delivered for us."
Miles, who had gone just 3-for-9 from the field in Friday's loss at Dallas, was very aggressive on the offensive end of the floor and scored on an assortment of jump shots, drives to the basket and a couple of dazzling dunks.
"Last night wasn't a good night for me," he said. "Dallas did a good job of taking me out of some of the things that I do. So tonight I wanted to be able to mix it up a little more. I wanted to make sure I made some of those jump shots when I was open to open up all the drives.
"I got some good looks, I got some drives and I got to the free-throw line. ... When I'm driving, that's when I'm most effective. I was just trying to make some plays. The last couple of weeks, my biggest thing is trying to put that ball on the floor and make some plays."
Burks went 3-of-4 from the floor in the fourth quarter, including a couple of 3-pointers, and wound up scoring eight points in just over seven minutes on the court in the final period.
"I'm going to play aggressive," said the 6-foot-6 rookie, who was drafted by the Jazz two spots after Sacramento took Fredette with the 10th pick last June. "I was brought up aggressive. I'm going to make the most of my minutes."
And on this night, Burks, Hayward and Miles definitely did that — and helped spoil Jimmer's heralded NBA "homecoming" to the Beehive State.
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