Hayward Officially Becomes An All-Star, Scores 24, As Jazz Defeats Lakers 96-98

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Gordon Hayward officially became an All-Star as he leads Utah Jazz soar over Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night in a game in which he scored 2 points.

The Jazz ended a two-game losing streak and the Lakers have now dropped eight of their last nine.

”It sounds nice,” Hayward said about being an All-Star. ”Definitely just rewarding for a lot of work that I did. Definitely wouldn’t have gotten it without my teammates, without the coaches. Put in a lot of work in this summer with Johnnie Bryant and Isaiah Wright.

”We’ve been a lot more successful this year than in past years. I’ve always said, when a team’s successful the individual accolades come after that.”

Utah used a 16-0 run in the third quarter, punctuated by a Joe Ingles-to-Hayward alley-oop to give the Jazz a 68-56 lead that they never relinquished. The stretch was jump-started by Rudy Gobert’s rim protection on the defensive end as the Lakers went more than six minutes without scoring. He finished with six blocks, matching his season-high.

The Lakers answered with a 14-4 fourth-quarter run, but never got closer than 80-76.

”I don’t think we’re playing real well right now,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”It’s not surprising given the amount of games we’ve played recently and re-integrating certain players – every week there’s a new guy that’s able to play. What that does is, it affects your rhythm.

”The beginning of the third quarter Rudy took the game over on the defensive end. That’s how we’re going to win.”

Hayward had another efficient night, shooting 7 for 14 from the field while George Hill chipped in 12.

The short-handed Lakers struggled to find offense against the best scoring defense in the league were just 4 for 14 from 3-point range. Lou Williams scored a team-high 20 off the bench while both Jordan Clarkson and Ivica Zubac added 16.

”We went dry,” Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. said. ”Couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. Our offense just wasn’t clicking for us tonight.”

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