Posted by: Steven on March 23rd, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Last night you could make the case that Gordon won the game for the Jazz.
Forget for a moment about that big lead the rest of the team manufactured in the first three quarters. When the Kings switched to a zone defense the same Jazz offense that built up a big lead started missing shots like they hadn’t all game. The Jazz missed 13 of their first 14 shots of the 4th quarter. I could see the heads going down. It was painful to watch. It was deja-vu all over again. It was looking like despite beating the Lakers and the Thunder that we were going to lose away from home to a side that we had dominated for much of the match.
Then Gordon stepped up and took it upon himself to disrupt the rhythm of the King’s attack to give the best chance of getting through that slump. He was everywhere on the defensive end. Making big plays over and over again. A lot of it worked. Some of it didn’t, but would probably would have had he had more help from his teammates around him. He was working incredibly hard when other players’ heads were going down. He pulled his teammates through and when he had had enough of them missing he took the ball down the other end himself. His free throws that he made at the line pulled his teammates out of the slump by giving them belief that they could still win the game. As big as Jefferson’s tip in was, the player with the most impact (for the Jazz) in the 4th quarter was Hayward. He is a big 4th quarter player He has been since the end of last season.
He can frustrate me no end, because for all his talent I think he defers to his teammates early in the game too much. I would like to see him drive to the basket more often. I would like to see him be another ball handler earlier in games but he seems to like to be a team player that disrupts opposition players with his defense rather than imposing himself on games in the way that he can. But come the 4th quarter he is usually there making big plays time and time again.
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