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Game Preview (Utah Jazz vs PHX Suns): The Hayward's Former Favorite Coaches Tour Continues

Game #57: Phoenix Suns (33-23) @ Utah Jazz (20-36) EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT February 26, 2014 -- 7:00 pm MT TV: ROOT Sports -- RADIO: 1280 am / 97.5 fm

We're so so sooooo sorry, come back to us please!!!!!
We're so so sooooo sorry, come back to us please!!!!!

Monday night we saw the Utah Jazz get their 20th win of the season. We also saw Gordon Hayward have a lackluster shooting night. Many thought that Hayward would have an EXTRAORDINARY night since he was playing in front of his ex-college coach, Brad Stevens.



Tonight Hayward will once again get to play in front of one of his favorite coaches, this time his former assistant coach on the Utah Jazz, Jeff Hornacek.


Last season Hornacek in an interview on 1280 broke down Hayward's game a little bit. Maybe he can read this and remember this advice.

Breaking down Gordon Hayward’s game: It seems like every night now, talking with Gordon, "Gordon, one of these games, it’s just gonna, it’s all gonna fall together."…To me, he’s very close to really being a, a guy that can give you that 15-20 points every single night. You know, he’s about there now…

He still has to be consistent with that shot. We've been working on a few things in terms of his arc when guys run at him. I feel he’s got maybe a tendency to arc it a little bit out of normal, just to get over that guy, and we try to tell him, sometimes guys don't realize how big and long they are and what effect another guy would have on him.*

We say, "Gordon, you're 6’8″, 6’9″. You have long arms. You shoot it up high. Some guy running at you is not gonna block it…Just shoot your normal arc. You don’t have to shoot it any higher."

That, and probably strength, finishing at the basket, he takes it extremely hard to the basket, which is great. He’s gotta be a little stronger with the ball, and finish on those plays. And once he finishes, I think he’ll get that reputation from the referees that, "Hey, if he does end up missing, he had to have gotten fouled."

Advice from Tyrone Corbin to Hayward a few days ago

Is there anything in game film that sheds light on Gordon Hayward’s shooting woes?
His form is good…He just, you know, and I, he miss a couple layups, so it’s something that’s not, you know, the mechanics of it. He’s just rushing, or he, you know, it’s a little something that click, and you just gotta get the click back. That’s all.

So okay Hayward just get that click back!

Phoenix Suns

The Suns are currently on a two game losing streak after having a three game winning streak. In the last two games the Suns have given up 112.5 ppg, that however has come against two of the best offensive teams in the league: Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite their two game losing streak the Suns are 33-23, a full 10 games over .500! The Suns are currently 8th in the West. Before Eric Bledsoe went down with an injury the Suns were 16-8, since Bledsoe went down they are a respectable 14-12.

The Suns already have eight more wins than the experts at SB Nation predicted they would have all season


The experts including Matt Moore at CBS Sports had this to say about the Suns before the season began:

Welcome to Tanksville: Phoenix Suns. Much like the Philadelphia 76ers, I appreciate the fact that the Phoenix Suns aren't wasting our time with pretending to care about the outcome of this coming season. The Suns are planning on being bad, but their version of it will be far more aesthetically pleasing on the court. They're going to unleash Eric Bledsoe on defense, let him get his feet wet on offense, and the rest of the team will be a fireball of chaos.

The Suns have young talent to develop throughout the season with Archie Goodwin, Alex Len, the Morris twins, and Bledsoe to keep our interest a little bit. But mostly, they're looking to prepare for the near future with the 2014 draft and it's nice that it's fairly obvious.

Here are the projected number of wins from the experts at CBS Sports. Matt Moore, Royce Young, and Zach Harper in that order for the columns.


The Suns thanks to Hornacek are doing much better than ANY expert predicted.

Tonight the Suns should look to control the pace of the game. In The Bright Side of the Sun's preview this is what they had to say about pace:

Pick up the pace - The Jazz are 27th in the league in pace. That's just above the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies, teams the Suns are a combined 0-4 against this season. Though Phoenix has won two of three against Utah, one of those came on a last second shot.

The Utah Jazz

The Jazz ended a three game losing streak with a win against the Boston Celtics on Monday. The Jazz have not looked great since prior to the All Star Break.

The Jazz are doing much worse than the SB Nation experts predicted at the beginning of the year:


They are doing kind of how CBSSports predicted but still not quite as well:


The key to a Jazz victory is Derrick Favors. The Jazz are a whopping 0-9 without Favors. Favors did play on Monday and had a very nice game. Favors shot 8-9 from the field, scoring 20 points in just 29 minutes. Why did he only get 9 field goal attempts, no one knows but Tyrone Corbin.

The Jazz are still 30th out of 30 in defense rating percentage. Here are the Jazz's basic rankings according to


Starting Lineups

Phoenix Suns

PF - Channing Fry

SF- P.J. Tucker

C- Miles Plumlee

SG- Gerald Green

PG- Goran Dragic

Utah Jazz

PF- Marvin Williams

SF- Richard Jefferson

C- Derrick Favors

SG- Gordon Hayward

PG- Trey Burke

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns

Goran Dragic (PG) : Ankle- Questionable

Leandro Barbosa (SG): Toe- Questionable

Eric Bledsoe (PG): Knee- Out Indefineitely

Emeka Okafor (C) Neck- Out unti February

Utah Jazz

No Injuries


I think this game is hard to predict. The Jazz are at full-strength while the Suns are riddled with injury. The Suns have the innovative new young head coach, Jeff Hornacek while the Jazz have the fusty, Tyrone Corbin. The Jazz are pretty good at home while the Suns have won 2-of-3 against the Jazz this year. I will predict a Suns win since the Jazz tend to do opposite of what I think. If Dragic doesn't play the Jazz will have a greater chance of winning.

Suns vs Jazz coverage

Bright Side Of The Sun