Philadelphia • Two weeks ago, Jazz forward Jeremy Evans was on top of the NBA.
Evans won the 2012 All-Star dunk contest Feb. 24, linking up with teammate Gordon Hayward to leap through the air and grab the title via a fan vote.
But Evans’ post All-Star break play hasn’t been as lofty. Again stuck at the end of Utah’s deep bench, Evans had been limited to just 24 minutes in six games entering a contest Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Twenty-two of those minutes came Feb. 29 during a 19-point blowout of Houston, meaning Evans had only averaged 0.4 minutes in Utah’s five other games since he captured the title.
The No. 55 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft understands why his on-court time’s been rare, and he credited coach Tyrone Corbin with sticking to a team-first agenda.
“I’m kind of back to normal. The [All-Star] weekend, it was crazy, amazing. After Sunday, you come back to reality,” Evans said.
He added: “Coach is doing the right thing, not just putting me out there because of what I’ve done for the weekend. I’m just staying focused and sticking to what we’re used to.”
Evans’ minutes picked up during a 104-91 loss to the 76ers. He recorded 11:50, finishing with five rebounds and zero points on 0-of-2 shooting. But the main reason for the increase was early foul trouble for Jazz reserve center Enes Kanter, who picked up two quick personals and only played 3:54.
“[Philadelphia] had Thaddeus Young at the 4, so I thought it would be a better matchup for Jeremy — use his versatility,” Corbin said.
Jazz guard Raja Bell acknowledged there’s been little overall change to the Jazz’s first unit, despite the insertion of Josh Howard and Hayward’s move to the bench.
Utah is still mostly running its traditional offensive system, while Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap continue to be the primary focus.
“People get caught up in lineups and whatnot here, but lineups aren’t the issue with our team when things aren’t going well. … It’s not necessarily the lineup. It’s whether we’re getting stops or making shots,” Bell said.
The 76ers’ Lou Williams and Young each scored a game-high 21 points. … Jazz rookie guard Alec Burks played the final 10:03 and closed the game on Philly starting shooting guard Evan Turner, despite not taking the court during the first half. “I thought for the most part [Burks] did a good job,” Corbin said. … Turner continued his resurgence, scoring 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while recording game-highs in rebounds (12) and minutes (43:05). … Jazz assistant coach Jeff Hornacek was assessed a technical foul with 5:11 left in the third quarter and Utah trailing 64-54.