Jazz rookie forward Gordon Hayward has been on alert.
Hayward has been asked to defend two of the NBA's elite players - Denver's Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant - during two consecutive games.
Anthony easily won the first battle, scoring 31 points Friday during Utah's road victory, while Hayward had one of his most frustrating professional outings: zero points, four fouls, nine minutes.
But the rookie rebounded Saturday during the Jazz's 121-105 home loss to Oklahoma City.
Hayward drew the primary assignment on Durant, who leads the league with 29.1 average points.
Durant was just average against Utah, scoring 21 points but shooting only 7 of 17 from the field while never taking over the game.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan took notice, praising Hayward's effort.
"He's one of the best scorers in the league," said Hayward, who scored six points. "I looked at it as a challenge, and it was fun guarding him. I was able to stay out of foul trouble. … It's good to be in there for a little bit."
Hayward's defense gets tested
Salt Lake Tribune | Feb 6