Promising win shows Utah Jazz have potential
Gordon Hayward didn't want to make too much of it.
It was a preseason game over a Golden State team that looked sluggish after playing in California the night before.
"We can't read too much into it," the Utah Jazz forward said as he stood in front of his locker, "except for things we can improve on."
But in Utah's 101-78 victory over the Warriors at EnergySolutions Arena on Tuesday night Â a win for a team not expected to have many this season Â a young group of players provided a glint of hope, if only for one night.
In a runaway victory, the Jazz showed their bench thanks to guards Alec Burks and John Lucas III Â had enough firepower to keep Utah in a game and even grow a lead. The Jazz's starting front court of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors showed off a reinvigorated defense against the Warriors' first team. And rookie point guard Trey Burke, who Corbin thought had been pressing in his most recent public performances, showed that his national college basketball player of the year game might indeed translate to the pros.
After going 1 for 19 from 3-point in summer league, Burke came out and hit his first shot from behind the arc. He went on to finish with 12 points and 3 assists on the night.
"I try not to think about [the summer league performance] anymore," Burke said afterward. "That was one phase, my first real taste of the NBA. Now I'm getting more comfortable. When my shot does come, I'm shooting it with more confidence."
The Jazz started slow. When David Lee hit a pair of free throws midway through the first quarter, the Golden State lead was 8, and the Jazz season looked like it might feel even longer than many suspect it might.
But Utah got a spark from its bench as Lucas went 5 for 9 to lead all scorers with 16 points. Burks, who started the game on the bench in favor of the veteran Richard Jefferson, slashed to the rim with ease and hit his mid-range shots, picking up 14 points along the way.
In all, the Jazz finished with six scores in double-digits, including Favors who finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds and forward Jeremy Evans, who showed off his jump shot to finish with 12 points and 13 boards.
Hayward, meanwhile, filled up his box score with 8 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
Even when Golden State coach Mark Jackson went back to hist starting five late in the first half, a Utah lineup of Lucas, Burks, Dominic McGuire, Jeremy Evans and Kanter pushed the Jazz lead to double digits.
The Jazz kept Golden State to just 32.6 percent shooting on the night, making stops in the paint and on the perimeter. Warriors guard Stephen Curry shot just 4 for 14, while forward David Lee finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
After the win, Corbin said his team still has plenty of work to do. But even he wasn't going to completely overlook the victory.
"For us, we're creating a new identity with a new group of guys," he said. "So it's always good to get a win and get a good performance."