Share “Hayward leads balanced Jazz past Suns, 109-86”

Hayward leads balanced Jazz past Suns, 109-86

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2014 at 11:41 pm •  Published: February 26, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gordon Hayward needed just one assist for his first career triple-double. Despite his teammates' playful pushes, he didn't ask to re-enter the game.

Gordon Hayward had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead a balanced Utah Jazz offense in a 109-86 win over the slumping Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

"G ain't gonna lobby. He was just like, 'It's alright, guys.' C'mon man!" teammate Richard Jefferson said. "He has been through a lot this year and he deserved that accomplishment."

Instead, Hayward watched the final 6:15 from the bench.

"G got so many of us involved with the assists he had. We were moving and sharing the ball tonight," said Jefferson, who finished with 17 points.

Diante Garrett added a career-high 15 points as the Jazz had seven players with 10 points or more in their largest margin of victory this season. Utah shot 57.5 percent from the field, the highest mark of any Phoenix opponent this season.

Gerald Green had 17 points and rookie Archie Goodwin matched his career-best with 16 for the Suns, who shot 38.8 percent with some shots way off the mark.

"That was the whole game plan. We knew they were a good transition team so we made sure we got back on defense and stop the easy baskets. We wanted to make them try and do something else," Utah's Derrick Favors said.

Playing their only road game in a nine-game stretch, the Suns have been looking to improve their playoff position. However, with a third straight loss, Phoenix leads Memphis by just one-half game for the eighth and final Western Conference berth.

"Defensively, the last three games we've given up 115, 114 and 109 points to teams that usually average 94," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We're a fast-breaking team that relies on getting stops and getting steals. When we don't do that, we struggle."

Hayward, mired in a shooting slump (31 percent in his previous 13 games), made plays all over the court in this one.

"It's been a rough stretch. I've been working hard and spending extra time in the gym and tonight things came a little easier," Hayward said.

Getting so close and falling short of the vaunted triple-double mark didn't seem to bother Hayward.

"It just didn't work out. I'm just glad we got the win," Hayward said. "It was a blowout game and we had the big lead so you don't want to risk anything."

Goran Dragic did not dress due to a sprained ankle and the Suns missed his playmaking abilities. Dragic twisted his right ankle in the third quarter in a loss to Minnesota on Tuesday and will have the injury re-evaluated on Thursday.

Continue reading this story on the...