Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/8/13
SALT LAKE CITY -- Gordon Hayward was razzed about his new haircut and neatly trimmed face Monday night. The Dallas Mavericks didn't find it too funny how the Utah Jazz's emerging player transformed from a shaggy-looking swingman into a baby-faced assassin on this day. Hayward scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked two shots to lead the Jazz to a 100-94 victory over the Mavericks at EnergySolutions Arena. "Hayward had a great game. He hurt as all night long," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "He is a very athletic player. He is very skilled, and he understands how to play. He got us time and time again." Hayward hit a big 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining to give the Jazz a seven-point cushion, then sank a couple of free throws in the final 44 seconds to help Utah hold on. Hayward's season-high scoring effort lifted the Jazz to their third win in four games and evened their record to 18-18 ahead of a three-game road trip back East. "(Assistant coach) Jeff (Hornacek) was joking with me, saying that I finally got the hair out of my eyes and I could see the rim," said Hayward, whose hair almost resembled Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki before getting a choirboy cut before the game. "It was a fun game tonight. It was good." Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Dallas (13-22) couldn't hold onto an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead while losing for the 12th time in 14 games. The Mavericks scored only 14 points in the final quarter to continue their frustrating slide, which is putting their 12-year postseason streak in serious peril. Al Jefferson had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, and he also took a key charge against Nowtizki with the Jazz up by four and 32.2 seconds remaining. "We gotta do what we gotta do to win the game," Jefferson said. "We knew we had to do it on the defensive end, because when Dirk gets to the free-throw line every time, that's all that matters to him, so we knew we had to get a big stop, and it worked out for us." Paul Millsap added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz. Alec Burks hit two clutch free throws with 21.2 seconds remaining, and he finished with 13 points while closing out the game in the point guard role. Chris Kaman contributed 14 points and nine rebounds for the struggling Mavericks. The score was 53-53 at halftime, and Dallas came out with a strong third quarter, taking a six-point lead into the fourth quarter. Two Burks free throws and a pair of Millsap buckets trimmed the Mavs' lead to 82-80. During an ensuing 13-0 run, Burks hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock went off to knot the score at 86-86. "I just shot it and it went in," he said. Hayward followed with a steal and a strong drive to give the Jazz the lead for good at 88-86. Hayward had a huge second quarter, helping erase Dallas' 26-19 first-quarter lead. In the second, Hayward totaled 15 points and either scored or assisted on 23 of the Jazz's 24 points in the quarter. Hayward's final assist of the half came on Marvin Williams' buzzer-beating 3-pointer from a couple of feet beyond the arc. "He started early," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Hayward, who had 15 of his 18 first-half points in the second quarter. "We want to get the ball in his hands so he can make plays -- not only for himself but for his teammates. He had just a great flowing game on both ends tonight for us." NOTES: Through Monday's game, the Jazz have played 36 games in 69 days, which equals one game every 1.92 days. After last season's lockout, Utah played 66 contests in 122 nights (one game every 1.85 days). That schedule doesn't lighten up for another week, with the Jazz playing four games through Monday. Utah then only plays one game over the following eight days. "That's one thing I do, look at the schedule," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "You play a lot of games back-to-back or on the road, you know sooner or later it's going to come back to your favor." ... Jazz center Enes Kanter returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. ... Dallas waived swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts on Sunday. ... The Mavericks will reportedly sign veteran guard Mike James to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN.com. James, currently with the D-League's Texas Legends, has played with 10 NBA teams during his career.
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