Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Utah Jazz second-year forward Gordon Hayward averages less than one block for every 36 minutes he plays, and his block rate (the percentage of 2-pointers he sends back for every one that is sent up with him on the court) of 1.8 percent is tied with that of diminutive veteran point guard Earl Watson this season. That didn't seem to stop Hayward from rejecting attempts at the rim from athletic Celtics guard Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley on Wednesday night:

Those who saw Gordon struggle through his rookie year in chasing all manner of wings around might be surprised that the Butler product is bounding around the court so effortlessly in his second season. But Haralabos Voulgaris -- an NBA analyst and poker pro that has his own, exacting analysis system set up so that he can smartly wager on games -- thinks Hayward is about as improved as they come in 2011-12. From his Twitter account:

Video: Gordon Hayward — destroyer of Celtics, improver of defense

The streaking (winners of three straight, now tied atop the Atlantic Division with the flailing Philadelphia 76ers) C's downed the Jazz in this one, but the team has still won seven of its last 10, and is in a three-way tie in the 7-8-9 seeds in the West with Houston and Denver. A pair of tough ones await the Jazz, though, as they have to fly all the way back to Utah to play the Kings on Thursday after a long road trip, followed by a trip to Los Angeles on Saturday to face the Clippers. Hopefully they can recover for those two in the same manner that Hayward … well, you see where this is going.

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