March 25, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
Derrick Favors came home red-hot Sunday, but the former Yellow Jacket didn’t touch home cooking before his Utah Jazz played the Hawks Sunday night.
He’d averaged 11.7 points and 11.5 rebounds during the Utah Jazz’ six-game winning streak, and he didn’t want anything slowing him down. “I didn’t even touch [mom’s cuisine] because once I got started, I wouldn’t stop,” Derrick said with a smile.
In his second season with the NBA’s Utah Jazz after spending one campaign (2009-’10) at Georgia Tech, Favors and the Jazz made their only visit of the season to Atlanta to play the Hawks. He looks like he’s beginning to feel at home with the Jazz.
Favors continues to come off the bench behind one of the NBA’s most under-rated players in power forward Paul Millsap, and there’s quite a bit different about him now as opposed to his rookie season.
“I’m taking my time and just being more comfortable out there,” he said. “I think last year I was rushing things, trying to do stuff I can’t do. This year, I’ve kind of calmed down, slowed down and I’m just playing my game.”
That game is working.
He’s set four career highs in the six-game win streak Utah brought into Atlanta.
In the first game, against the Timberwolves, his four points and 16 rebounds – a career high – including a season-high eight offensive rebounds.
That career mark didn’t last long. In the next game, Favors scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in a win over the Warriors. He made a career-high nine free throws in that one and grabbed a career-high 11 defensive rebounds.
Next time out, Favors had his second straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Lakers in Los Angeles.
He also had a double-double Thursday in a win over Sacramento (12 points, 10 rebounds).
Overall, Favors is averaging 8.7 points and 5.9 rebounds this season.
So while Derrick skipped the grub, he said he did take time to visit a few friends Sunday, and when he did a pre-game interview with the Jazz television network, he told Utah color commentator Matt Harping – another former Jacket and Atlanta native, that he bought, “about 80,” tickets for friends and family for the Hawks game.
Yowza! Asked later for more details, Favors said, “I got the cheap ones. Friends, old teammates, friends from when I was growing up . . . the [South Atlanta] High School coach [Michael Reddick] gets the good seats.
“I talk to him every other week. He asks how I’m doing. I call him sometimes. Me and him have a good relationship. We talk basketball, or man-to-man or whatever.”
Mom, though, still calls shots – even from afar.
“She calls me every day with the Mom questions: ‘How are you doing?’ ‘Are you eating?’ ‘Are you keeping the house clean?’ ‘Are you washing your clothes?” he said.
Derrick said, “I’m trying,” to keep the house clean, and he didn’t really answer when asked if he’s keeping up with his laundry.
He does keep up with some former Tech teammates. “I stay in touch with Gani [Lawal]; he’s in China, and with Iman [Shumpert],” Favors said. “[Former Tech] coach [Paul] Hewitt called me during the All-Star break.”
Derrick doesn’t say much, and I first learned that when I met him during his senior season at South Atlanta High. Here’s what I found then. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.