Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and the rest of the Golden State Warriors starters took their seats on the bench, ready to watch the final minutes of a blowout victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
Ian Clark made sure they’d have to put in an extra shift.
When the Jazz guard checked into the game for the first time with 3:58 left in the fourth quarter, Utah trailed by 23 points. Two and a half minutes later, Clark’s eight points and two rebounds had Golden State coach Mark Jackson bringing his starters back into the game.
"My teammates do a great job of … helping me stay ready," said Clark, who finished with 10 points. "I’m just trying to be ready when my name is called."
After Monday night, that might be more often.
"He can really shoot the ball," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "It may be something we need to look at a little closer going forward here because we need to find a way to score the ball. We need to attack. If we get somebody to attack and turn the corner and get the defense to collapse, he’s capable of making shots on the perimeter."
Clark, the first Belmont player to ever make an NBA roster, spent Monday reminding teammate Marvin Williams that mid-major Belmont walked out of Chapel Hill, N.C., with a win over Williams’ Tar Heels.
"I may not hear the end of it this year," Williams said.
The razzing might be easier for Williams to handle if Clark can help carry some of the scoring load off the bench. Williams once again led the Jazz bench, hitting for 16 points on the night. But Clark’s 10 were a welcome addition for a second unit that has struggled for production.
Clark is a scorer by nature, a reputation he fostered as the summer league’s MVP. But he had been shooting just 13 percent from the floor in limited minutes coming into Monday’s game. Against the Warriors, Clark hit his first three shots — two of them coming from behind the arc.
"You don’t want to put a lot of stress on it," he said of his earlier struggles. "When you know you can shoot, just relax and shoot the ball. You can’t hope it goes in. Just shoot it and if it misses, the next shot goes in."
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