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Minneapolis • Al Jefferson spent the first three years of his NBA career in Boston, a city with a proud sporting heritage, but one that will now be associated with Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Jefferson, who spent the afternoon napping, said he missed the news until he was in the elevator heading to the Jazz's 7 p.m. game at the Target Center.
"Anytime you hear things like that it always affects you," Jefferson said. "Because that could happen to anybody, any of your loved ones."
A moment of silence was held at the Target Center before the Jazz and Timberwolves played. As a result of the bombing, the NBA canceled Tuesday's game between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers. It will not be rescheduled and both teams will finish the season with 81 games.
Monday marked the second time this season the Jazz played immediately on the heels of a national tragedy. On Dec. 14, the Jazz were shooting around in Phoenix when news broke of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
But Monday's attack was different in that it happened at a sporting event. The Jazz play 82 games a year in front of crowds of nearly 20,000 people. While NBA security is rigid, it became easier to wonder Monday if it could happen at the Boston Marathon, could it happen in an arena?
"They have a lot of precautions," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "But really there's nothing stopping someone. It's just something terrible that happened. But I don't think you should live in fear."
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he tried to strike a balance Monday of preparing for the game, but also staying up on world news.
"I lay down and turned it on and it's like, gah, are you kidding me?" Corbin said. "Then you just kind of watch. You turn it off and it's on your mind and I watched it again before I came over here. It's just sad."
Hayward the candidate
With awards season approaching, at least one national NBA writer thinks the Jazz have a candidate for a postseason honor. Rob Mahoney of SI.com's Point Forward blog listed Hayward as a "first-tier option" for Sixth Man of the Year in a post late last week.
Hayward, who has started the last 16 games, is eligible for the award, given to the league's top bench player, by virtue of playing more games as a reserve than a starter.
Hayward is an extreme long shot for the honor, with the Clippers' Jamal Crawford and the Knicks' J.R. Smith considered runaway favorites.
But Jefferson said, "I believe his name should be talked about."
In 45 games as a reserve, Hayward averaged 14.3 points per game (spot on his overall average), 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
But don't expect a big marketing campaign from Hayward or the Jazz.
"I don't need to lobby," he said sheepishly.
Hayward was moved to the bench 10 games into the season, a move Corbin said was intended to get the ball in Hayward's hands more.
"I think he's had a great year," Corbin said. "He's played multiple roles for us, he did a great job when he came off the bench. He continued that now that he's a starter. I think that his game is growing."