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NBA Regular Season: Utah Jazz (9-7) at Oklahoma City Thunder (12-4) -- Player Focus, Gordon Hayward

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Game #17 • Chesapeake Energy Arena • Oklahoma City, OK • November 30, 2012 • 6:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports • RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM and 1600 AM ESPN Deportes

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 17:

Utah Jazz (9-7) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (12-4)

#UTAatOKC Game Stream -- Welcome to Loud City (SB Nation Blog) -- Jazz vs Thunder coverage

Player Focus: Gordon Hayward

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With Marvin Williams out, the Utah Jazz will start DeMarre Carroll up against the Thunder's superstar Kevin Durant. Carroll has value but he is a limited player. He's not even a true defensive stopper, he's an energy guy who makes hustle plays. Gordon Hayward is going to be playing his (to me) natural Small Forward position, and doing so against one of the best players in the universe right now. Gordon is a big game player though -- and he steps up against the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and other countless contenders. The one team he hasn't had great success against so far is the Oklahoma City Thunder. And that ends tonight. He has the skills to pay the bills (within reason, I'm not saying he's cheap . . . he's . . . uh, frugal). And he's a big game player. Tonight we're going to need him, and I think he turns a few heads with his play on both sides of the ball tonight.

And man, we're really going to need him to step up if we're going to have a chance. We're not going to go far if Paul Millsap is guarding KD . . .