This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It wasn't that Derrick Favors' jump shot wasn't hitting Wednesday night it's that it wasn't hitting anything. The Jazz forward lofted up an air ball that fell short. From the baseline, he rainbowed a shot that sailed well over the rim to the other side.
"Man," Favors said later. "My shot was terrible tonight."
But when the Jazz needed a key play in an ugly game against the Denver Nuggets, Favors came through. The Jazz forward tied with Gordon Hayward for a team-high 16 points and contributed 11 rebounds and six blocked shots in a 85-81 victory.
After watching their team stumble through the first half, the home crowd erupted in the third quarter when, in a single possession, Favors blocked two shots and forward Trevor Booker blocked a third, leading to a fast-break layup for Raul Neto on the other end.
"They were coming to the basket, so I had to protect the rim," Favors said.
Later, Favors swatted a shot that kickstarted a three-on-one break that ended with a two-handed jam by rookie forward Trey Lyles.
"The whole game was pretty flat," Favors said. "We didn't have a lot of energy. I had to do something. I didn't have it going offensively, so I just took it upon myself to provide some energy anyway I can and it came with the blocks. It got my team hyped. It got the gym, the audience, going. It helped us win the game."
The Jazz blocked 10 shots in all Wednesday, helping hold the Nuggets to 37 percent shooting for the game a defensive effort that saved the Jazz on a night when their offense struggled mightily.
Favors finished a respectable 7 of 14 from the floor thanks to a handful of dunks and lay-ins, but the forward's jumpshot was badly off line Wednesday. In his fifth game back in the Jazz's lineup after returning from a back and hip injury that kept him sidelined for a month, Favors said he is still working to fine tune his stroke.
"It's just a rhythm thing," he said. "I haven't found a rhythm with my jumper yet, but I didn't let it affect my whole game. I went there and was aggressive on the defensive end, made a lot of big plays and helped my team win."
Favors helped extend the Jazz's win streak to four games by diving into the first row and saving an offensive rebound in the game's final seconds.
And after passing up one shot late in the game, Favors used a Hayward screen to free himself up for a crucial 11-foot jumper to help secure the win.
"[Rodney Hood] and G [Hayward] came up to me after I turned one jumper down. They were like, 'Man, shoot the next one,' " Favors said. " 'So when he set the set the screen, I was just going to shoot it. Hopefully, it goes in. Hopefully, I don't air ball again.
"It went in."