Orlando, Fla. — Notes and analysis following the Utah Jazz's 87-81 victory against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday during an NBA Summer League contest inside Amway Center.
Top Jazz: Alec Burks. Again. He walked off the court with the second-highest scoring average (19.5) in the Orlando Summer League and closed down the fourth quarter. Burks picked his spots, drove when he saw an opening, and attacked while still playing within Utah's offense. It's too early to say Burks has taken the next step. But his strong three-game run Tuesday through Thursday has caught the Jazz's eye, and everything from his man-to-man defense to his ballhandling have improved.
Real Utah: Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans and Burks all either had strong or solid outings. Kanter recorded his second consecutive double-double, collecting 12 points and 11 rebounds against the Pacers, while Evans took several mid-range shots he would've passed up last season. DeMarre Carroll (left ankle sprain) only played 6:18 and didn't re-enter the game after leaving midway through the first quarter. Kevin Murphy recorded eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and played with a much smoother rhythm than he did Monday and Tuesday.
Stockton watch: A quiet but efficient two points and one assist for Michael Stockton. He's returned to earth after a hot Summer League start. But the fact he was part of the first five Thursday says a lot about his steady play during recent days.
Bright spots: Justin Knox (eight points, 3-of-4 shooting), Blake Ahearn (11 points, 3-of-4 shooting), Henry Sims (six points). Ahearn played his best Summer League game on Thursday. With Stockton and Ahearn receiving the majority of the time at point guard, Mike Green's fallen out of the rotation.
Other side: Ben Hansbrough led Indiana with 18 points, with 11 coming via free throws. Rookie guard Orlando Johnson scored 13 points and had several nice moves in transition. He was just 5 of 18 from the floor, though, and took two times as many shots as any of his teammates. Rookie center Miles Plumlee recorded 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and six rebounds. He has a sound fundamental game, he's big enough to bang away inside, and he can hit an open 15-footer.
Energy meter: The 2012 Jazz Summer League team continues to mirror Utah's 2011-12 regular-season squad. Coached by Sidney Lowe, Jeff Hornacek and Scott Layden, the Summer League club has outhustled and outfought its last three opponents, with each game resulting in a tough win. Utah moved to 3-1 Thursday, and the Jazz are collecting victories while still playing almost everyone on their roster.
Quote machine: Lowe on Burks realizing he can take over games — "Yeah, I think that's the thing is what you just said, is him feeling that way and knowing that he can do that, and now getting his mind set to go out and do it. Again, he's such a nice young man. But you want him to have that killer instinct. You want him to step on the floor and just feel that I'm the best player on the floor right now, because he's capable of doing so much. But I think over time he'll get there."
Numbers game: Utah shot 53.3 percent (32 of 60) from the floor and 88 percent (22 of 25) from the line. The Jazz outscored the Pacers 40-28 in the paint and 17-9 in the fast break, while Utah won the rebounding battle 38-23.
Last call: Center Salah Mejri was not with the Jazz on Thursday and is no longer with the team. … While Burks has been the most talented player on Utah's roster, Deron Washington has been the scrappiest. … Burks ran the point for a few plays Thursday and has briefly held the position throughout Summer League.
Brian T. Smith