Gordon Hayward out-LeBrons LeBron James with block, dunk, buzzer-beater (videos)
The Utah Jazz beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-100 on Wednesday night courtesy of a clutch Gordon Hayward buzzer-beater as time expired. But Hayward’s on-court heroics throughout the night made the case that for at least one night, the 24-year-old forward out-LeBronned LeBron.
It all began in the second quarter. On a fast break after a steal, James went in for what he thought would be a relatively uncontested layup. That is until Hayward streaked down the lane for a chasedown block.
Not content with shutting down the Cavs in transition, Hayward was rewarded for his efforts by being fed the ball for a dunk going the other way, giving the Jazz a nine-point lead.
But as noted above, Hayward’s greatest moment of the night came in the clutch. With the clock running out and the score tied at 100, Hayward dribbled right, cleared himself some space by taking a step back and drained a long jumper. Ballgame. Jazz 102, Cavs, 100.
“I’ve never really done that before,” Hayward said, via NBA.com. “It was just one of those moments.”
Hayward was mobbed by teammates after the buzzer-beater and admitted afterward it’s hard not to cherish such a big moment.
“How can you not show emotion after a finish like that? For us to win the game after being in control the whole game and then see it slipping away, it was pretty special,” Hayward said. “Just exhilaration!”
The big-time shooting and big-time play by Hayward (21 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, not to mention the big block on LeBron) dropped the Cavaliers to a surprising 1-3 while the Jazz got a game closer to .500 at 2-3.
Sure, James got his during the game, scoring 31 points, but it’s hard to argue with the below highlight package (during which Hayward shakes LeBron for an easy layup) highlighting their showdown that on this night, Hayward — who previously stated he could beat James to a 1-on-1, albeit in a different manner — outdueled King James.
(photo credit: Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune)