THE FACTS: A fresh haircut and clean shave transformed Gordon Hayward into a baby-faced assassin on Monday night.
Hayward scored a season-high 27 points and had six rebounds and five assists to lead the Utah Jazz to a 100-94 victory over the reeling Dallas Mavericks. It was the sixth straight game Hayward has scored in double figures as his play is starting to warrant him being picked ninth overall in the 2010 NBA draft.
The Mavericks led by eight points early in the fourth quarter before letting the game get away from them. Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points and had five rebounds and five assists, but the Mavericks fell to 1-7 since his season debut on Dec. 23. Dallas has lost 12 of its last 14 games.
QUOTABLE: "Hayward had a great game. He hurt us all night long. He is a very athletic player. He is very skilled and he understands how to play. He got us time and time again. The 3's at the end of the first half were big because we had a lead. There were a few plays down the stretch where he hit a shot or got his hand on the ball or something. All those things add up."
-- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Hayward.
THE STAT: The Jazz protected the basket well, blocking eight shots. Some of the blocks came on hustle plays, as they denied the Mavericks on fast-break opportunities. Seven of the blocks came in the first three quarters and helped Utah stay in the game while it struggled offensively.
TURNING POINT: It took Derrick Favors getting his fifth foul on a takedown on Nowitzki for the Jazz to find a spark. Utah outscored Dallas 19-4 over the next nine minutes after Favors put a hard foul on Nowitzki with 11:16 remaining in the game. The Jazz scored on three straight possessions to get within 82-80. Alec Burks tied the game with a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, and Hayward put Utah ahead 88-86, finishing after a behind-the-back dribble and sweet spin move past Darren Collison. Hayward also capped a 13-0 run by splashing in a 3-pointer to give Utah a 93-86 lead.
HOT: Hayward played one of the best games of his career, and it was needed because the rest of Jazz mostly struggled until the fourth quarter. Hayward shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range and scored seven of his points in the fourth quarter. His 15 points in the second quarter were a season-high for a quarter. He also blocked two shots and had a steal. For the Mavericks, Chris Kaman appeared to be having a career game early on. He made four of his first six shots and scored 14 points in the first half. He was held scoreless after halftime.
NOT: The Mavericks' fourth quarter offense was abysmal. They scored just 14 points on 31.3 percent shooting. They had a four-minute stretch without scoring in which they shot 0-for-3 and had three turnovers. O.J. Mayo struggled the most in the fourth, shooting 0-for-5 with four missed 3-point attempts.
QUOTABLE II: "We needed to get some pace. We needed to get some scoring. We got in a lull there. I was a little concerned with the speed of Collison for a while on the point, but I thought Gordon and Alec did a good job of trying to stay between him and the basket. And it gave us a bunch on the offensive end."
-- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on finishing the game with Hayward, Burks and Randy Foye on the court together.
GOOD MOVE: Jazz fans finally got their wish as Burks played meaningful minutes down the stretch. Burks didn't appear to warrant getting crunch-time minutes, as he was 1-for-6 from the field at one point. But playing him at point guard paid off, as he facilitated the offense and helped the Jazz pick up their pace in the fourth quarter. In fact, the lineup of Burks, Hayward, Foye, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson was highly effective for Utah in the fourth quarter.
BAD MOVE: Dallas didn't match Utah's physicality in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks seemed to back down after Favors fouled Nowitzki early in period, and didn't do enough to protect the ball on offense or keep the Jazz away from the basket on defense.
NOTABLE: Dallas fell to 1-13 on the road when opponents score 100 points or more. Nowitzki led the Mavericks in scoring for the second time this season. Utah has defeated Dallas three straight times. Jefferson had his 16th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Burks scored a season-high 13 points. Kaman was whistled for a flagrant foul for hooking Jefferson in the head in the third quarter. Jefferson, not known for his defense, drew a charge on Nowitzki with Utah ahead 96-92 with 32.2 seconds remaining.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Wednesday @ L.A. Clippers, Thursday @ Sacramento, Saturday vs. Grizzlies. For the Jazz, Wednesday @ Charlotte, Friday @ Atlanta, Saturday @ Detroit.