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Utah Jazz notebook: Derrick Favors tunes out the Lakers, turns up his game against Golden State

OAKLAND, Calif. — Derrick Favors was so preoccupied he didn't get to check out the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon.

Turns out, he had his own game to prepare for during that time period.

"I didn't even watch it," Favors said. "I was stretching."

Fortunately for the Jazz, Favors spent Sunday night swatting shots, scoring buckets and snaring rebounds instead of stretching during their big 97-90 win over Golden State.

"The win is very important," Favors said. "We're back in the playoff race."

When it came to watching the Lakers, the Jazz big man sounded like he might not have tuned in even if he didn't have to get ready for Utah's game against Golden State.

"Basically, I don't care what happens with them," he said of LA. "I just worry about what we've got going, just the honest truth."

Favors wouldn't openly admit it, but here's some more truth: He probably would've watched the Lakers-Clippers had he not been busy.

He's a basketball junkie. That's what he does.

"I watch a lot of basketball. I'm a student of the game. A lot of people don't know that about me because I'm not an outgoing person. I don't talk a lot," Favors said. "But I'm a student of the game. I watch a lot of basketball. I just happened not to watch today."

Favors doesn't necessarily just watch games for fun, either.

He analyzes and absorbs the action.

And then — on nights like Sunday's 12-point, 13-rebound, three-block outing — he goes out and wreaks havoc.

"I just watch different players. Sometimes when we do scouting reports, I don't need the little scouting thing. I already know what the player I'm guarding already does," Favors admitted. "I just watch different players and watch how they play, watch how other teams play, just little things like that."

Interestingly, Favors isn't just focusing on the big men he faces all season long.

"I watch everybody — guards, posts, everybody. I watch everybody," he said. "I don't even see it to enjoy a game. I'm just watching it, breaking it down, seeing what's happening, seeing what guys do. All that kind of stuff."

Imagine the size of the smile on Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin's face when he hears that.

"That's great. He needs to (watch and learn)," Corbin said. "It helps all guys, but it helps the young guys especially to watch guys at their position."

Corbin paused and added, "Not just their position. They need to know their business. They need to know the guys they're going to compete against on different nights, what different guys are doing to (make an) effect and be successful in the game."

Corbin said players then need to incorporate what works into their own game if they can — or at least they'll have a sense of what's coming when they face that foe.

He loves that a third-year player like Favors is devoted to doing that — something that pays dividends in big performances like Sunday's.

"His growth, how he's trying to understand what gives him the better chance of being successful in this league," Corbin said. "He's a young guy. He's 21 years old. He's learning a lot and he's doing it the right way by watching his competition play."

Better than having young guys watch MTV and reality TV shows, right?

"Well," Corbin said with a laugh, "there's enough time to watch that, too."

After Sunday night, Favors will likely see some of his own highlights if he watches sports shows.

Guard Randy Foye spoke highly of Favors, who had a key block in the final 45 seconds of the Jazz's win.

"He played his butt off tonight and was the MVP of tonight's game," Foye said.

Foye admitted Favors might share that honor with Mo Williams, who scored 25 points, including a game-clinching 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining.

But Favors played so well and had such a monstrous impact in this one even Al Jefferson didn't mind sitting out part of the final minute in Favors' favor. The third-year backup big man responded by breaking up a pick-and-roll play and then blocking a shot.

"That's amazing to me. I think D-Fav is the big key to that. Coach subbed me out there toward the end to put him back in. I couldn't have (been) happier," Jefferson said. "I felt like that was the right move, and he made a big defensive stop there towards the end."

It wasn't on TV, but Jefferson loved watching that, especially because it helped the Jazz move ahead of the Lakers into a playoff position.

"I think Derrick Favors is really the key reason why our defense is so great, especially in crunch time of the game," Jefferson said. "He's just a great above-the-rim shot blocker. He changes a lot of shots when guys come down through there and that's what we need."

It's not a stretch to think that beats watching a Lakers loss.