Grimacing as he walked slowly across the Jazz’s locker room after Monday night’s 105-94 loss to Portland, Jeremy Evans looked like someone who had just played a season-high 38 minutes.
Because of injuries to Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams, Evans started for the second straight game — this time against Trail Blazer All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.
» Derrick Favors (sore back) and Marvin Williams (foot) miss Portland’s 105-94 victory over the Jazz.
» Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans start for coach Tyrone Corbin. They combine for 25 points and 13 rebounds.
» Evans plays a season-high 39 minutes. Kanter ends up playing 34 minutes.
Enes Kanter joined Evans in coach Tyrone Corbin’s juggled front court and, together, they performed decently.
Kanter finished with 19 points and five rebounds, Evans contributed six points and eight rebounds.
The biggest problem: Portland turned 11 offensive rebounds in 17 second-chance points.
"... They had some bright moments," Corbin said. "They read each other pretty well. [But] we have to rebound the ball a little better."
Aldridge finished with 24 points. But he took 18 shots and got to the free-throw line only four times.
Evans started as the primary defender on Aldridge, who scored six points on 3-for-8 shooting in the first quarter.
"Just tried to be aggressive and stay close to him," said Evans. "I tried to help the guards on the screens, then get back to him as quick as I could and challenge his shot because he’s a such a great player."
Evans missed the start of the season because of a shoulder injury, and he rotated his arm over his head briefly as he wearily walked to his locker.
Asked how his injured shoulder felt after battling Aldridge and the Blazers, he smiled.
"Yeah, it’s ... it ... it’s pretty good," he said.
With Favors sidelined with a sore lower back and Williams nursing a sore right foot, Evans has found himself in a new role.
Does he do anything differently as a starter instead of coming off the bench?
Not really, apparently.
"The biggest thing is trying to provide what I would usually provide," he said. "Just being ready, providing energy [and] throwing the first punch."
With Evans and Kanter starting, Corbin had to deal with a short bench against Portland.
He ended up using only nine players and, beyond Alec Burks’ team-high 20 points, Utah’s non-starters finished with only four.
Andris Biedrins, Diante Garrett and Mike Harris scored four points on combined 1-for-8 shooting.
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