Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Recap: Jazz 100, Celtics 82

After a slow start, the Utah Jazz took over in the second quarter and didn't look back, pulling away for a 100-82 win over the Boston Celtics Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Rodney Hood posted a double-double with a team-high 23 points?including 15 in the fourth quarter alone?and 10 rebounds, while Danté Exum added 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in the win.
Jack Cooley finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz.
Boston's Marcus Smart led all scorers with 26 points in the loss. Jordan Mickey (16 points), C.J. Fair (12) and James Young (12) also scored in double figures for the Celtics.
Key Stretch
Exum took over on three straight Jazz possessions midway through the second quarter. First, he drove hard down the lane and?instead of pulling up for a floater?took it straight to the rim. He missed the layup attempt but was fouled, and he swished both free throws. He pulled up and hit nothing but net on a three from the top of the key the next time down the court, and then he capped off the sequence by cutting to the hoop, taking a backdoor pass from Hood and putting in a reverse layup. Danté's aggressiveness keyed a 31-12 Jazz run to close the second quarter.
Monday's Best
Exum was at the center of everything Utah did Monday night. Taking it coast to coast for a layup while being fouled. Throwing down a two-handed dunk off an inbounds pass. Going 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. Dishing to Cooley for an uncontested dunk. Swinging it to Hood for a wide-open three.
And then ... he drove the basket with just under two minutes left, landed awkwardly and crumpled to the floor. The arena went from euphoria to silence in a matter of seconds. After pounding the floor with his fist and remaining down for a minute or so, Exum limped off the floor with the help of two Jazz trainers. He was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and will be evaluated tomorrow.
Significant Stat
The Jazz owned the boards, outrebounding the Celtics 51-31. Cooley (13 rebounds), Hood (10), Brock Motum (eight) and Chris Johnson (six) led the Jazz.
Quote of the Night
"Marcus Smart came out hard tonight, and I think the best thing about Danté is that he kept fighting. The big thing with him is to try to be aggressive and attack the basket, which he did a good job of once he settled down. ... We want him to be a leader, and this a great opportunity to do it vocally. When we need a bucket he can be the one who's aggressive, and he got to the free-throw line a lot tonight."
- Alex Jensen, Utah's summer league head coach
Rookie Olivier Hanlan drilled his first shot as a pro?a 3-pointer from the top of the key?late in the second quarter. ... Bryce Cotton sank a running 3-pointer to beat the second-quarter buzzer, giving Utah a 51-40 lead at the half. ... Grant Jerrett left the game in the third quarter with a dislocated right shoulder. He had six points (on two 3-pointers) up to that point.
Up Next
Both teams will play again on Tuesday night. The Jazz will face the San Antonio Spurs at 7 p.m. MT, while the Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 5 p.m.

Recap: Spurs 74, Sixers 71

The Utah Jazz Summer League tipped off as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Philadelphia 76ers 74-71 Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
With the game tied at 71-71 and the clock running down, San Antonio's Livio Jean-Charles swatted away a layup attempt by T.J. McConnell. Jean-Charles then ran the length of the court and finished an alley-oop layup to give the Spurs a two-point lead with 8.2 seconds left in the game.
Jahlil Okafor led all scorers with 20 points in his first game as a pro. Okafor went 10-for-22 from the field (and 0-for-4 from the line) and showed off the post game that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Dairis Bertans scored a team-high 19 points for the Spurs, while Cady Lalanne and Casper Ware scored 12 points each.
Jordan McRae (15 points) and Jerami Grant (13 points) also scored in double figures for the 76ers.
Key Stretch
In a back-and-forth game, the Spurs closed things out on a 9-3 run to seal the victory. Back-to-back threes by Bertans and Ware with just over a minute left gave San Antonio a three-point lead, then Jean-Charles' layup proved to be the game-winner.
Monday's Best
Bertans shot it well from beginning to end, scoring nine first-quarter points and finishing with 19 on 6-for-10 shooting (including 5-for-8 from 3-point range). The rookie from Latvia didn't even take a shot in the third quarter, but he came in and buried a corner three early in the fourth quarter to give the Spurs a 55-54 lead after they had trailed by 11 just a few minutes earlier. He also threw the alley-oop on the game-winning layup.
Significant Stat
Despite being significantly undersized compared to Okafor, San Antonio's Jean-Charles and Lalanne (who both stand at 6-foot-9) held their own in the low post. Jean-Charles swatted six shots while Lalanne finished with two blocks of his own. As a team, the Spurs blocked 12 shots (compared to six by Philadelphia).
Quote of the Night
"That was kind of a lucky play?it was the only chance I had. If not, I would just fall out of bounds, so I threw it up and my teammate was there to get the ball and make it. It started before, though. We were down by 11 at one point and then it was just because of our hard defense. We stopped them and then we got a run."
?San Antonio's Dairis Bertans on the game-winning layup
Up Next
Both teams will play again on Tuesday night. The Spurs will face the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m. MT, while the 76ers will take on the Boston Celtics at 5 p.m.

Recap: Heat 78, Pistons 73

Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson will forever be linked in NBA history.
As two players at the same position who were taken two slots apart in the 2015 NBA Draft, they will likely be compared throughout their entire careers in terms of individual and team success.
While their first head-to-head meeting might not have created the buzz of Shaquille O'Neal vs. Alonzo Morning, Dwight Howard vs. Emeka Okafor or LeBron James vs. Carmelo Anthony, it was certainly one of the most highly anticipated matchups in Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.
The two forwards delivered a quality show, but ultimately it was Winslow's Heat who emerged victorious.
The No. 10 overall pick in this year's draft posted 17 points and four rebounds as Miami edged Detroit for a 78-73 triumph on Monday.
"He's a great player," Johnson said. "He won the game, that's what matters."
For the second straight night Winslow struggled from the field, but remained aggressive and found his way to the free throw line. He again took double-digit attempts from the charity stripe, going 7-for-10 from the line.
It's that ability to find a way to do it all that impresses his rival.
"He's tough, he can dribble, he can shoot, he can rebound, he's athletic," Johnson said. "He wins basketball games."
While their head-to-head matchups are new to the NBA stage, the pair is already very familiar with one another.
"Me and him are friends," Johnson explained. "We've been playing against each other since the third grade, so it's nothing new to us."
The Pistons first round pick, No. 8 overall, put together a solid performance of his own, notching 14 points and seven rebounds. He finished the night 4-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-3 from distance.
"He can do everything," Winslow said of Johnson. "You saw tonight, you saw the threes, you saw the midrange, the floaters. He had a very efficient night unlike me."
It's clear there's more than just a mutual respect among the two rookies.
"We know we're both top talents and so when we're out there between the lines, there's a lot of trash talk, there's a lot of toughness and just competing out there," Winslow said.
But with their first summer league matchup behind them, they plan on spending the night as friends instead of competitors -- well actually that's still up for debate.
"It's all competitive between the lines, but when we go back to the hotel we're going to play FIFA," Wilsow said, before joking "that's going to be competitive (as well)."
Both Detroit (1-2) and Miami (3-0) have Tuesday off before returning to action on Wednesday. The Pistons face the Pacers at 3 p.m. ET, while the Heat take on the Clippers at 5 p.m.

Recap: Thunder 73, Magic Blue 65

The Orlando Magic got several highlight-worthy plays from forward Aaron Gordon and rookie Mario Hezonja, but they couldn't overcome some cold outside shooting, too many turnovers and a fast start from Oklahoma City's Mitch McGary.
Gordon continued to show off the dramatic improvement in his offensive game and resemble the best player in the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League. And Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in the June 25th NBA Draft, had two thunderous right-handed dunks and two 3-pointers. However, it wasn't enough for Orlando to overcome 19 misses from 3-point range and 20 turnovers in a 73-65 loss to the Thunder.
McGary scored 19 points on nine of 12 shooting and the Thunder (2-0) blew the game open in a one-sided fourth quarter. Orlando (1-1) trailed 48-47 after three periods, but its offense came unglued in the final period. OKC scored 16 of the first 20 points of the fourth quarter.
Things got so ugly down the stretch that Hezonja, who hit a game-winning 3-pointer in Saturday's Day 1 victory, missed dunks on back-to-back possessions with five minutes to play.
Orlando made just five of 24 3-point shots, while OKC missed 11 of 12 tries from beyond the arc.
Gordon, who had 22 points and 18 rebounds on Saturday, was solid again with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists before being pulled midway through the fourth quarter. Hezonja, a Croatian native who spent the last three years playing in the Spanish League, made just six of 16 shots and only two of nine 3-point shots for 14 points in nearly 23 minutes.
McGary, who burst on the NBA scene last season when the Thunder lost Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka to injuries, played well early in the game. Mixing mid-range jump shots with strong low-post moves, McGary made four of his first six shots and scored nine first-half points.
Hezonja had the highlight of the first half when he drove hard to his right and past OKC's Levi Randolph and dunked the ball with authority with his right hand. And later in the half, Hezonja took a pass from Gordon and calmly buried a 3-point shot to tie the game at 28-all.
Hezonja's rare combination of perimeter shooting and athleticism are some of the traits that drew the Magic to him in the months and weeks leading up to the NBA Draft. Hezonja, a 6-foot-8, 218-pound small forward, was the fifth overall pick by Orlando in the June 25th NBA Draft.
Just as he did in Saturday's overtime defeat of the Los Angeles Clippers, Gordon started quickly and dominated the game in the early going. The forward showed off the growth he's made as a shooter by burying four shots early in the game -- one of them on a pull-up drive and three of them on mid-range jumpers. Gordon had 10 of Orlando's first 12 points and he finished the first half with 12 points, five rebounds and one assist.

Recap: Magic White 85, Pacers 76

While there have been a plethora of terrific individual performances to this point of the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, the Orlando Magic's White team has arguably been the most cohesive.
That may surprise some considering nobody on that roster is guaranteed an NBA roster spot next season. Perhaps that has fueled them as a group. They have banned together and played excellent team basketball.
Chris Singleton, who played for the Wizards from 2011-2014, led four Magic White players in double figures with 17 points in an 85-76 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. He shot 8-of-12 from the floor and added six rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
"Our guys have done a good job sharing the ball and playing defense," said Bill Peterson, head coach of the D-League's Erie BayHawks who is also coaching the Magic White squad. "We want to be a physical team."
Magic White (2-0) have scored the most points (172 total) amongst all teams that have played two games.
Keith Appling, who played under coach Peterson in Erie last season, contributed 17 points and three steals.
"His development is out the roof, real real high," Peterson said about Appling. "His ability to run our team, he's starting to think the game better. His mental makeup has improved a great deal."
Magic White did most of their damage from the free throw line. They attempted 20 more foul shots than the Pacers and made 30-of-36 from the stripe.
Indiana's Myles Turner, who posted 20 points and eight rebounds on opening day, did most of his work on the defensive end. He racked up six blocks. Fouls continue to be a concern, however. He was whistled eight times in 27 minutes on the floor.
Shayne Whittington led the Pacers with 16 points, while Trent Lockett added 11 and Joe Young scored nine.