Highlights, lowlights of the 2013-14 Utah Jazz season (14 items)

By Andrew Aragon, Brandon Judd, David Smith and Lafe Peavler, Deseret News

April 17, 2014

The 2013-14 season will be one Utah Jazz fans won't soon forget.

While there were some scattered good times, the majority of the year was rife with shortcomings. The hope is that these struggles will pay off with future successes.

What are some of the high, and low, moments from a season that Jazz fans and team management are surely anxious to see in the rearview mirror?

1 of 14. Highlight: The Jazz beat the Heat

If any game made fans feel like it was the good old days, it was Utah's victory over the defending NBA champions on Feb. 8.

EnergySolutions Arena looked like the formidable fortress that it used to be, rather than the sea of empty seats it has been for much of this season. Marvin Williams led the Jazz with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc.

Utah's defense was the star of the night as the Jazz held LeBron James to a season-low 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting. The Heat's big three of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh scored a combined 45 points while they average 62.4 points per game.

That win was certainly a welcome oasis in last season's howling desert.

2 of 14. Lowlight: 1-14 start

Utah couldn't have gotten off to much of a worse start. There were even rumblings when the team lost its first eight games that the Jazz may go 0-82.

That of course didn't happen, as the squad got in the win column with a home victory over New Orleans, and Utah rebounded from the poor start to play near .500 ball in the middle portion of the season.

Still, this was an ominous beginning to what has been a tough season. Utah was outscored 100.3 to 88.5 in its first 15 games and gave up 100 points or more in nine of those contests.

3 of 14. Highlight: Jerry Sloan's banner-raising ceremony

How fitting was it for legendary head coach Jerry Sloan to raise his banner with Karl Malone and John Stockton there with him?

Rather than go with any number Sloan wore as a player, Utah fittingly chose "1223" for Sloan's banner. That's the number of wins Sloan racked up over his illustrious career.

That ceremony brought back memories of when Sloan roamed the sideline while Stockton and Malone rocked any opponent that dared play at the Delta Center. It was a welcome reminder of great years gone by.

Sadly, the Jazz weren't able to win against Golden State to make it a perfect night.

4 of 14. Lowlight: No clear-cut leader

Heading into the 2013-14 season, it appeared there were two youngsters the Jazz would lean on for leadership: Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors.

Both have had made their presence felt on the stat sheet and have taken over at times, including when Hayward scored Utah's final 17 points in a shocking win over Oklahoma City in early January. Hayward led the team in scoring, and Favors led the Jazz in rebounding and had 25 double-doubles this season.

Yet neither player was the consistent, reliable leader this young team needed when the rough times hit. Hayward's shooting touch would get away from him at times, and at other times it felt as if Favors had disappeared. Too often, veterans like Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams were the team's emotional leaders; for the Jazz to improve, that needs to change.

Utah chose not to extend Hayward's contract and he will be a restricted free agent this offseason. If he were to leave, the leadership mantle would again need a willing player to fall upon, though the expectation would be it is Favors team. Could he step into the role next season?

5 of 14. Highlight: Gordon Hayward steals Kevin Durant's Thunder

Kevin Durant was unstoppable against the Jazz on Jan. 7, as he dropped 48 points on Utah at EnergySolutions Arena, but Gordon Hayward found a way to steal a win from Durant and the Thunder. Hayward put the team on his shoulders as he scored Utah's final 17 points to ensure a shocking 112-101 win over Oklahoma City.

The Jazz outshot the usually red-hot Thunder 58.8 to 39.3 percent. While the Jazz couldn't keep Durant from scoring big numbers, they did hold him to 3-for-13 shooting from behind the arc.

Oddly enough, some fans consider this game a lowlight. Of course, those are the fans that wanted the Jazz to tank at all costs.