Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said he initially felt like ripping Delonte West’s finger off and fighting him after he jabbed it into Hayward’s right ear during the second quarter of Monday night’s triple-overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
“I wanted to fight right there, but you can’t do that,” Hayward said before Tuesday’s practice. “It wouldn’t have been the smart idea. I’d risk getting a technical foul, getting suspended for the season, whatever. There’s more important things than fighting someone out on the court. The more important thing was getting the win and we were able to do that.”
Hayward acknowledged Tuesday that many of his teammates might have reacted differently.
But Hayward, who raised both arms and walked away, said he “got the last laugh” as the Jazz prevailed 123-121 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with four games remaining.
The incident, which earned West a technical foul after his personal foul but no ejection, lit up Twitter.
West insisted afterward that Hayward had lint in his hair and he wanted to give him a “wet willy.”
He also acknowledged getting caught up in the emotion.
“We are two warriors, out here battling,” West said, unsure whether he would be facing a fine. “I forgot the NBA is a gentleman’s game.”
Kaman out for season
New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman will miss the final five games of the season because of a bruised left tibia.
In 47 games, including 33 starts, Kaman averaged 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and a team-leading 1.6 blocks per game. He led the team in rebounding 21 times and in scoring 10 times.
Kaman also had a team-leading 15 double-doubles.
Around the league
Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love missed his fourth consecutive game because of concussion symptoms, and guard Luke Ridnour was out for the eighth game in a row with a sprained right ankle. Center Darko Milicic missed his 10th game in a row because of a strained right hamstring. … Ray Allen’s injured right ankle kept him out of the Boston Celtics’ lineup Tuesday against the New York Knicks, who could get Amare Stoudemire (bulging disk) back on Friday. Allen felt pain earlier Tuesday during a shoot-around. The Celtics were also without swingman Mickael Pietrus, who returned to Boston because of pain in his knee, which coach Doc Rivers assumed came from playing three consecutive nights after a lengthy absence because of a head injury.