OKC 101, Jazz 98: Final thoughts
As they reunited in Las Vegas this summer at a USA basketball camp, their first time together since the season had ended just shy of a playoff berth, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors talked about the future.Earlier that month, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, the Jazz's top scorers last season, had signed free agent deals with new teams."We talked about how there was a void left with everyone leaving, it was kind of our time," Hayward said after Wednesday morning's shootaround. "I think we've been waiting for this game tonight for a while."One wait is over, but the wait for this team's first win continues.The Jazz showed flashes of what fans, coaches and ownership hope this team can be, but ultimately fell short 101-98 to the Thunder on Wednesday night.A couple of thoughts while the sweepers clean up the arena:• With Andris Biedrins and Jeremy Evans out with injury, it was going to be up to Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert to handle a cast of big bodies. OKC started Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins and brought Nick Collison and Steven Adams off the bench.Foul trouble was a concern, especially for Favors. But he handled himself well.Favors finished with five fouls, but didn't get into trouble early.• Speaking of Favors, his passing was excellent at times.He got caught in traffic and kicked out to John Lucas for a 3. He had a bounce pass to Hayward for an easy dunk. He finished with five assists on the night.• Richard Jefferson said he liked the team's effort tonight, but said it's easy for any team to gear up to play Oklahoma City, or another top team, especially on opening night."It's when it's Tuesday and you're coming off a long road trip and you're playing the Pelicans that's when you can see the effort," he said.• Jefferson, meanwhile, said he's been impressed by the demeanor of the team's young leaders."There is no exuberance. That is not the word I would [use to] describe Gordon, or Derrick or Enes," the 12-year veteran said. "They're very mild-mannered guys. They're very competitive. They're very aggressive. But they're not these kids bouncing off the walls. They're a different breed of guys. They're approaching this in a very professional manner, which is refreshing. They're approaching this like this is where they expected to be."• Mike Harris didn't impress much during the preseason, but he put on a show tonight.The former Rice standout was the last man to make the Jazz roster and found himself matched up against Kevin Durant on opening night. Durant scored 42 points but Harris made him work for them when the two went against one another. Harris also had 13 points and 4 rebounds.
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