Delonte player of the ear?

Posted: April 18, 2012

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 win against Dallas.

"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 if he would be facing a fine. "I forgot the NBA is a gentleman's game."

Hayward said he realized Monday night that West was frustrated when West bumped him the first time.

"Gordon's a better man than me," Jefferson said, referring to Hayward's restraint. "But that just shows you the type of person he is. He got the last laugh on the court. Me and Delonte West are good friends. If it had been anybody else that would have done that to me, I probably wouldn't have taken it as well as Gordon did."

The NBA league office did not immediately return calls about whether a fine would be forthcoming.

Noteworthy * 

Hornets center Chris Kaman will miss New Orleans' final five games because of a bruised left tibia.

* Minnesota All-Star Kevin Love says he will take concussion tests on Wednesday and hopes to return to the court before the season ends. Love has missed four straight games with a concussion and strained neck that he suffered in the game April 11.

In games last night * 

At New York, Carmelo Anthony had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double, and the Knicks made 19 three-pointers to keep alive their Atlantic Division title hopes with a 118-110 victory over the Boston Celtics.

JR Smith and Steve Novak both scored 25 points for the Knicks, who overcame a season-high 43 points from Paul Pierce and moved into sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference while trimming Boston's division lead to 3 1/2 games. The Celtics would have wrapped up their fifth straight Atlantic title with a victory.

Instead, the Knicks staggered them with a record-tying 14 three-pointers in a 72-point first half and equaled their season high by finishing 19 of 32 behind the arc. They improved to 14-5 under interim coach Mike Woodson.

* At Auburn Hills, Mich., Brandon Knight had 28 points and seven assists, and the Detroit Pistons routed the Cleveland Cavaliers, 116-77, in one of the NBA's most lopsided games of the season. The score was 100-50 after three quarters.

The Cavaliers were without rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, who was out with a right shoulder problem and hasn't played since April 3. Irving could return Wednesday night against the visiting 76ers. Cleveland forward Alonzo Gee was a late scratch because of a left ankle sprain.

* At Minneapolis, Rudy Gay had 28 points and nine rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies beat Minnesota for the eighth straight time, 91-84. The Timberwolves have lost 11 straight.

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