first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares SALT LAKE CITY — Gordon Hayward wondered how his Utah Jazz would respond to a frustrating loss in Sacramento with a quick turnaround for the second night of a back-to-back against the New York Knicks.Hayward set the tone himself and scored 24 points as the Jazz bullied the Knicks from start to finish in a 106-85 victory the night of Dec. 9.“It’s one of the toughest parts of the NBA, having games like that back-to-back,” Hayward said. “It’s a mental thing more than anything and making sure you’re focused and moving on to the next game. We talked about it as a team before tonight, coming out with energy and playing with force.“We did that and were able to respond really well.”Hayward was aggressive from the opening tip and shot 9-for-14 from the field, including four 3-pointers, to go along with four rebounds and five assists.The Jazz (10-10) led 70-37 early in the third quarter for their largest lead in any game this season.Hayward and Derrick Favors combined to score 15 of Utah’s first 18 points as the Jazz sprinted out to an 18-4 lead. The game was never competitive afterward.Favors finished with 20 and eight rebounds.Carmelo Anthony never found a groove, scoring 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting. He didn’t make his first field goal until 6:33 remained in the second quarter. Jose Calderon added nine.The 21-point loss is the worst of the season for New York.The Knicks (10-13) made a small run in the third quarter and cut the lead below 20 points, but consecutive alley-oops to Jeff Withey and Trevor Booker early in the fourth pushed the lead back to 28.The Jazz improved to 3-1 on the second night of back-to-back games.“We know it’s a long season … and you’re going to have some games you’re not performing the way we know we can perform,” Trey Burke said. “Last we felt like we played (poorly), but we were still in the game at the end. Tonight we wanted to come out with energy from the start.”(KAREEM COPELAND, AP Sports Writer)last_img

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