Derrick Favors goes 'Hulk mode' in the Utah Jazz's 115-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks

Derrick Favors, the Utah Jazz’s mild-mannered veteran, took off from just outside the restricted area. And by the time he had landed, after he had cocked his right hand back and popped the rim with a ferocious dunk on top of Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova, Favors had transformed.

He pounded his chest and flexed and roared at a crowd of 18,000.

“Fav was in Hulk mode,” Kyle Korver said.

And with Favors, his team’s fortunes transformed, too.

The Jazz trailed by 14 in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game against the Bucks, and again by 17 in the fourth. When the Jazz had completed the comeback, winning 115-111 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Donovan Mitchell was the one doused by water bottles in celebration of his career-high 46 points. But Mitchell wasn’t taking credit for the win.

That belonged to Favors.

“He’s the MVP of the game,” Mitchell said, “say what you want about me.”

On a night Jazz center Rudy Gobert struggled, Favors stepped up with 23 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks in the victory, helping his team improve to 36-36 on the season.

“Rudy’s carried us so many times. Tonight was Fav’s turn to do some of that,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said.

Favors did it on both ends of the floor. Defensively, the veteran forward did his best to challenge Milwaukee’s All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. On the other end, Favors hit 10 of his 12 field goal attempts.

“I just had to bring some energy,” he said. “We got down early. … I just wanted to make some plays, get the crowd into it, get my teammates into it, and it worked out.”

Favors’ highlight-reel dunk on Ilyasova came in the second quarter and put the Jazz up 35-31.

“Once he dunked on him … you could tell the energy, you could tell he was in a different place emotionally,” Mitchell said. “That’s what really propelled us.”

Favors was fouled on the play and missed the ensuing free throw badly.

“I was still amped up after that dunk,” he said. “But just working hard over the summer, getting my body back right, making sure my knees are stronger—it just feels good to be able to do that again.”

Favors played 31:39 on Saturday. In that time, the Jazz had a plus-29 differential.

That’s why Snyder didn’t need a question in the post-game press conference to offer up praise for Favors’ play.

“Derrick Favors,” the coach said as soon as he sat down in front of the microphone, “had a beyond outstanding effort tonight.”

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