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NBA Summer League 2014 Recap: Utah Jazz thrash Denver Nuggets 87-69

The Jazz won by enough to, I think, get that 1st round bye.

"I almost had a 20-10 game? What?"
"I almost had a 20-10 game? What?"
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Summer League 2014: Game 3

Utah Jazz 87 -- Denver Nuggets 69

Tournament Preview - Roster - Schedule

What to watch - Gobert's defense - Clark's reminder - Rookie's first steps - Burke's team


This is the big one. Well, it's the last one in the prelim round that should have had the Jazz sitting at 2-0 already (thanks 3/30 3 PT shooting in game one). Rudy Gobert is being held out as a precaution as to not aggravate a shoulder injury he sustained last game. It gives the Jazz more time to work out the Murphies and Greg Emoji. But the first quarter was pretty much the Gary Harris show for Denver. These two teams run a lot, didn't play any defense, and there was some sloppy play -- and in those games the guy who has the most experience is going to show up. And that was Harris. The Jazz weren't out of it though. This was an unstructured game, but in the second quarter the Jazz' depth (er, lack of sucky players) got them back into the game and in the lead.

I will say that it was the Nuggets unforced turn overs, and not our d.

Dante Exum and Trey Burke benefited from the open play and they were looking for one another. It was nice to see, and seemed to work in the open court. After an and-one, the Jazz were up 35-26 with 5:12 left in the half. And with 2:30 left in the half it became 40 - 26. It was that type of game in the second. Denver went on a tear to finish the half down only 44-31. They had a 24 point first quarter, and then a 7 point second. Eep.

With 20 minutes in the books (40 min games here), Gary Harris had 11 points (3/6, 0/1, 5/5) and 2 rebounds. Erick Green added 7 points, and 2 rebounds, with a steal. But no one else really did anything. Tim Ohlbrecht had 6 boards, but that's not going to get it done. Quincy Miller went 1/11 from the field, and he needs to do more as he's their 2nd best player.

For Utah, Malcolm Thomas really took control finishing plays and keeping the ball live. He had 12 points 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. Trey had 9 points (4/6, 0/1, 0/1), 1 rebound, and 1 assist. Dante had 6 points (2/4, 0/1, 2/2), 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, with a nice steal and great transition block. Ian Clark and Erik Murphy both have 6. Murph has been hitting the glass, both with his rebounds and FGA. Niels Giffey hit a nice open three. The one guy we didn't take about so far is Rodney Hood -- 2 points, 1/6 shooting, missed both threes, but he does have 2 rebounds and 2 assists. But, he was a 2nd half player last game. So he can still heat up.

Both teams started sluggish in the third, but not as poorly as the game did to start, back in the first. There were three whistles (all infractions like moving screens) before there was even one shot. Gary Harris tried to get his squad into it but somehow Thomas and Murphy just started to go HAM (or like at least go Hot Dog) and start pounding the glass. Murphy made a three, and got a nice layup. Thomas was driving and dishing and getting points close to the basket.

But probably the most notable thing was that Exum got tired.

It did take 25 minutes for Quincy Miller to wake up, and his three pointed brought Denver to 51-38. But hey, Ian Clark took a shot from 70 feet (more like 30) and swished it. He followed that up with a nice floater in the lane. I guess he is doing his Sam Cassell to Kenny Smith thing. The Kenny Smith here, Trey Burke, hit a lay up right after as the Jazz got more competition from themselves than the Nuggets. Brock Motum put the Jazz up by 20 with 2:43 left by putting in an uncontested offensive rebound with no Nuggets around him. Utah was up 61-44 after three.

I think missing Gobert made Utah change their style. They didn't try any post ups, and while there were plenty of screens it was not a traditional pick and roll game. There were beyond the three point line screens, which is more seen for dribble handoffs. And while some guys cut, for the most part the Jazz were emptying the outside and attacking the lane through dribble penetration, not passing or establishing position there. It's a brave new world, Jazz fans.

For the Nuggets, this isn't a very talented roster, and they just couldn't make a three. Utah missed a lot of gimmies too, but the Jazz were at least getting offensive rebounds and guys were hustling.

Denver came out with some fire in the fourth, but Brock Motum was always there to stop their runs. None of that last point was made up. This is just the world we live in now.

The game ended with the final score of 87-69, and the Jazz won by enough to get the 1st round bye, if my math is correct. (Needed to have a 17 or more pt margin).

There was so much garbage time I was really worried that it would not happen.

  • Clark finished with 17 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl
  • Murphy finished with 17 pts, 9 reb, 2 ast, 3 blk
  • Thomas finished with 14 pts, 10 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk, 1 stl
  • Burke finished with 11 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast
  • Exum finished with 6 pts, 3 ast, 3 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk
  • Hood finished with 3 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
  • Motum finished with 6 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast
  • Roberts finished with 4 pts, 5 reb, 1 stl
  • Giffey hit a three, and that's it
  • Somogi had 3 rebounds, and 1 ast, and 1 blk
  • Covington finished with 6 pts, 1 ast, and I think clinched the margin with threes at the end.

Stats analysis later on tonight.