The Associated PressSALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Even if Gordon Hayward isn’t concerned with his All-Star candidacy, he put a signature performance on his resume in a huge win for the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
Hayward went blow for blow with LeBron James in the second half to help Utah beat the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers 100-92.
Hayward scored 28 points and went back and forth with the four-time MVP during a decisive third quarter. James brought the Cavs back from a 15-point halftime deficit before Hayward drove the lead back to 14.
“His level being so high consistently is what’s separating him right now,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He had big games last year at various times last year. But he’s up at that level more for longer periods during the game.
“That’s the next level that he found tonight, understanding how to attack a defense. Not just how to attack one guy.”
Hayward had 11 points while the Jazz used a 16-0 run midway through the quarter to lead 74-60. The Cavs had a 17-0 roll after halftime thanks to an aggressive James and his 13 third-quarter points.
Trey Lyles had eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter to help the Jazz hold on.
“Studying the film, doing some extra work before the games has helped me out, and after the games,” Hayward said. “Stuff that I didn’t used to do. The little things like that have definitely transferred over.
“Going over matchups, going over how guys defend, how teams defend, what I can do better from the last time we played them. Different things like that.”
James finished with 29 points and Kyrie Irving added 20 for the defending champs.
Rose returns to Knicks
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose has returned to practice with the New York Knicks after missing their game the night before for what he described as family reasons.
The Knicks’ public relations department posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday that showed Rose in his No. 25 practice jersey, standing with his teammates at their training facility in Greenburgh, New York.
The team later announced he had been fined for missing the 110-96 loss to New Orleans on Monday and said he was expected to be in uniform Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Rose said he apologized to his teammates and Knicks management, telling them it wouldn’t happen again.