This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As of late Monday afternoon, the Utah Jazz hadn't commented officially on Gordon Hayward's status for Tuesday's Game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
Still despite the bout with food poisoning that cost Hayward most of Sunday's Game 4 the all-star forward is expected to travel with the team to Los Angeles. So chances are, he will be available and ready to play.
Hayward went home at halftime of Sunday's Game 4, which ended in a 105-98 Jazz win. He spent the night and the first part of Monday in his bed trying to recover.
"Even when he was sick, there wasn't any way Gordon wasn't going to try and give it a go," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "It shows how he feels about the team, his teammates and this playoff experience. I took him out at one point to give him a blow, but I knew after the first quarter there wasn't much there. There wasn't anything he could play through, he was just so depleted."
Snyder said the team didn't know the source of the food poisoning, and that he got sick on Saturday, between Games 3 and 4.
If Hayward is able to play in Game 5, and look more like himself, it will give Jazz a boost in what looks to be the most critical game of the series. Hayward scored 40 points in Game 3, lighting the Clippers up from all over the floor. In Game 4, he looked a shell of himself. He had no explosion in the open floor, he was slow defensively and his only make from the field was a 3-pointer from the corner in the opening minutes.
"It's beyond next man up for us," Snyder said, of dealing with yet another injury. "It's really a process of the day. We've really become numb to it. It's almost like the weather."
Overlooked, but not forgotten
Sometimes, little things can play a big role in a win. Dante Exum played his first career playoff rotation minutes in Game 4, and made two plays that turned out big. First, he hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with the shot clock winding down, which kept the Jazz close, after the Clippers threatened to pull away.
Minutes later, Exum drove hard at Jamal Crawford, drawing the fifth foul on the Clippers' veteran guard. Crawford scored 25 points for Los Angeles, on a variety of jumpers. But Exum took him off the floor, igniting Utah's game-deciding rally.
The Jazz once again caused Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick fits in Game 4, holding him to 3-of-11 shooting en route to 12 points. The Jazz defense also coerced Redick into four turnovers.