Hayward, Favors lead Jazz over Bucks 96-87

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 2, 2014 at 11:27 pm •  Published: January 2, 2014
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz found a way to stay together despite starting the season with 14 losses in 15 games.

That cohesiveness is finally paying dividends.

"We've stuck with it. We've learned how to play as a team and we've stayed together. We have confidence that the next player is going to make a play," said Derrick Favors, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds to help the Utah Jazz hold off the Milwaukee Bucks 96-87 Thursday night

Gordon Hayward scored 22 points and the Jazz claimed consecutive wins for just the third time this season.

Hayward, Utah's leading scorer, had failed to reach double-figures in the previous two games but was efficient from the start against the Bucks with 18 in the first half.

Favors took his turn as the center of the improving Jazz offense at crunch time with seven points in the final 2:02 to clinch the game.

"Early in the season I was trying to do too much and going too fast," Favors said. "The coaches and other players have told me to slow down and when I'm open shoot it. And when I can create something, do it."

The Jazz made all 17 free throw attempts and outrebounded the Bucks 43-34 in the matchup of teams with the worst records in each conference. But the Jazz are as healthy as they have been all season and improving in a season they deemed as a development campaign last summer.

"We're getting better each and every game. We're still learning to play together. The chemistry is coming along," said rookie Trey Burke, who had 11 points as one of six Jazz players with at least 10 points.

Larry Sanders went 7 of 7 on field goals to lead Milwaukee with 16 points, his best output since missing 25 games with a thumb injury.

"I'm getting more comfortable out there. I need a little better timing defensively. I feel like I didn't guard the rim as well as I should have," Sanders said.

Luke Ridnour had 12 points and Gary Neal finished with 11, but the Bucks dropped their 12th straight game in Salt Lake City.

The Jazz were clinging to a 76-71 lead when Marvin Williams tipped a loose ball to Alec Burks that he turned into a layup. The Jazz stole it again on the next possession and Williams found Burks in the corner for a 3-pointer, widening the gap to 10 again.

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