Hayward, other Jazz players not exactly pleased with recent road trip but they’re ready for Rockets

Professor Hayward expected a little more and he wasn’t about grade on a curve.

When asked to grade the Utah Jazz’s recent four-game road trip, shooting guard Gordon Hayward wasn’t all that impressed.

“I thought it was average,” he said, referring to Utah’s 2-2 record during last week’s trip, which included stops in Toronto (a win), Boston (a loss), Philadelphia (a loss) and Washington (a win).

“I thought we definitely could have played better, for sure. There’s a lot of things we can improve on but, I mean, it wasn’t a disaster. We (went) 2-2, which on a road trip, I think you’ve got to be happy with that. (There is) room for improvement. It was OK.”

The Jazz started the trip by beating the Raptors in triple overtime for their first road win of the 2012-13 season. They lost close games to the Celtics and 76ers and struggled to beat the Wizards, the NBA’s worst team.

“It could have been worse, it could have been a lot better, too,” center Al Jefferson said.

Jefferson said he felt the Jazz played well enough in Boston to “walk off with our head up high.” However, he said he felt Utah should have won the game in Philadelphia.

Realistically, they could have, and perhaps should have, done even better than 2-2. The Jazz struggled to start each game and even fell behind 11-0 against the Wizards before battling back.

Coach Tyrone Corbin decided to juggle his starting lineup before that game, moving Hayward and teammate Marvin Williams to the bench. Randy Foye started at shooting guard and Paul Millsap moved from power forward to small forward, making room for Derrick Favors.

Corbin does not speak to the media after morning shootarounds, so he did not officially confirm the lineup for tonight’s home game with the Houston Rockets. However, Hayward said he expected the lineup to remain the same.

“I think that we’re going to start the same way we did (in Washington),” he said. “Hopefully we come out with a lot of energy, get off to a good start and then go from there.”

Hayward said he is fine coming off the bench. Millsap and Favors each said they’re fine with the new lineup, so long as it helps the team.

Millsap’s natural position is power forward and he has struggled at times adjusting to the small forward spot.

“I’m trying to figure it out, I don’t want to put too much thought into it (I want to) just get out there and play, really,” he said. “It’s a different feeling with starting at (small forward). It’s different but it’s nothing I can’t overcome.”



About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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