The Utah Jazz ran away with it in the final minutes, beating the L.A. Lakers 90-71 in Honolulu. Both teams used their expected starting lineups in the 1st and 3rd quarters, and then emptied their benches. Both teams played 13 players.
- The shooting isn’t there yet. The Jazz aren’t known to have many dead-eye shooters, but they need the backcourt to catch up to speed.
- The defense is. The Jazz held the Lakers to 28.9% from the floor.
- Alec Burks was scoreless but he had one layup negated by a moving screen and there were a couple non-calls that meant he had no free throws. He looked comfortable out there, running full speed on some fast breaks. Good to see Alec back.
- Remember how Rodney Hood had poor shooting at the beginning of the year and improved as the season progressed? I wonder if we’re going to get the same thing this year. He was 1-9 last night.
- The Lakers are a lottery team, but they picked up some nice pieces over the summer. Roy Hibbert, lest we forget, is still an elite 7’2″ defender. Brandon Bass is an upgrade over Carlos Boozer. Lou Williams was the NBA’s Sixth Man last year. I expect them to have a better record this year than they did last year.
- Rudy Gobert was active and excited, as we’d expect. At one point, Boler observed that the Lakers could only score if they somehow knocked Rudy to the floor first. He had 1 block for the night and about 23 altered shots. On the offensive end, if he got the ball within five feet, it was either a dunk or two free throws. There were no other options.
- Trey Lyles was good. I’m not counting his All-Star appearances, but he didn’t look like a deer in headlights either. He had 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block to be +16 in 13 minutes of play. Solid bench guy. Could be used as a small forward for those times Quin wants to mess with the other team and be really long. Not sure what his ceiling is, but he won’t be a bust. At one point, he went for a dunk, got deflected, and yet he had the touch and presence of mind to make sure the ball still went in.
- The score was 72-66 with 4:30 left in the game, and the Jazz ended the game on a 18-5 run.
- Tibor Pleiss is huge. My concern with him are his hands. Wasn’t great at catching passes.
- Raul Neto was active. He was like the roadrunner. He’s great on the fast break, great on transition D, good ball-handler, good passer. Thrilled with what I saw from him. (6 assists, 4 steals). His plus/minus (+20) was the highest of anyone.
- Trey Burke looked good in his own right. Any night where he finished with more points than FGA is a good night for him, and he finished with 10 points on 9 shots. He made all 4 of his free throws.
- Jazz had a 60-48 rebounding advantage. They also had a 48-21 advantage in free throw attempts, which was a testament to their aggression.
Their next game is on Tuesday.