Less than two minutes after subbing in, Jonas Jerebko had his first shot as a Jazzman: an open 3-pointer off a pass from Joe Ingles.
As he ran back on defense, he swung at Thabo Sefolosha’s high-five with a little too much enthusiasm.
“He told me after I smacked it too hard,” Jerebko said. “But I told him it was my first shot as a Jazz [player]. I had to, I was excited.”
Jerebko was all smiles on Wednesday after playing his first significant minutes with the Jazz in a 112-103 win over the Trail Blazers. Getting the nod in place of injured Joe Johnson (wrist), the 30-year-old forward had 8 points, 7 rebounds and the satisfaction of having found a way to contribute after coming aboard this summer.
The Swede had only appeared in two games prior, never playing more than two-and-a-half minutes. Some of that reserved energy came unleashed in his first meaningful game — Jerebko even got a technical foul for sparring with an official after an unfavorable call.
Coach Quin Snyder said while he’s barely come off the bench until now, Jerebko has kept up a good attitude.
“He’s been another guy who has just stayed positive,” he said. “It’s easy to have faith in guys who keep working no matter what.”
It’s clear Utah will have multiple approaches to replacing Johnson’s production while he’s expected to be out the next two weeks: Derrick Favors could play more minutes overall, and Thabo Sefolosha exceeded his normal minute run while embedding himself in the small-ball closing lineup.
Jerebko said he isn’t worried about how many minutes he’s getting — he just wants to make the most of it.
“All I gotta do is get in the gym and stay ready,” he said. “That’s all I can control.”
Rubio aces at the line
He’s been questioned as a shooter, true, but it’s been harder to doubt Ricky Rubio’s free throw numbers.
His performance on Wednesday helped shore up his reputation, as he was 11-for-11 from the line as a part of his 30-point night (six free throws in overtime). A career 83.3 percent free throw shooter, he’s now at 91.9 percent for the season, leading the NBA’s fourth-ranked free throw shooting team.
Snyder said he’s long had faith in Rubio’s ability to convert at the stripe.
“The first time we had a technical, he walked right up to the line,” Snyder said. “That’s all I needed to see. He’s confident at the line.”
Hood has a tough night
There’s not much precedent for how much Rodney Hood struggled from the field against Portland, missing all 11 shots he took and being yanked for Donovan Mitchell in the fourth quarter.
Only two other Jazzmen have missed at least 11 shots in a game with no makes: Derrick Favors (2012) and Milt Palacio (2006), and both finished with points made at the free throw line.
According to Basketball Reference, there’s been 18 instances since 1988 when a player has taken at least 11 shots, missed all of them and not scored. Justin Anderson, J.R. Smith and Aaron Gordon all did it last season in November.