Las Vegas Summer League 2014: Game 5
This is the last one, really, the last Utah Jazz game for many months. It's in the consolation round against the Portland Trail Blazers. Both teams were the highest seed, had first round byes, and got bounced. The 2-2 Utah Jazz lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, beat the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets, and then were upset by the San Antonio Spurs after leading for the majority of the game. The 2-2 Portland Trail Blazers lost to the New York Knicks, beat the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks, and then were upset by the Atlanta Hawks -- the team they just beat two days before.
Both teams are looking for answers, and sadly, will be leaving Las Vegas with a number of questions.
Portland is "okay", they averaged 75.0 ppg, gave up 75.5 ppg, and shot .395 / .297 / .731. Their offense was full of struggle, but the only time they got really curb stomped was in their last game, by 23 points. They will be looking to avenge that. The Jazz were also "okay", averaging 80.2 ppg, giving up 75.0 ppg, and shooting a more absurd .437 / .281 / .629. Hopefully for the sake of the fans, writers, and TV people, both teams don't try to take a lot of threes.
The Blazers have some talent on their squad in C.J. McCollum (20.0, 3.5, 2.3, 1.8), Will Barton (14.5, 7.0, 3.0, 1.3), and Bobby Brown (11.0, 3.0, 2.5, 1.0), with guys like Rodney Carney, Allen Crabbe, Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard, and Keith Appling doing their thing. The difference is that their best player, C.J., was really good. Our guys have been okay, but not great. If this becomes a battle of stars, then we will be sunk. While we should be the team everyone has their eye on (with Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, and last year's #LVSL MVP Ian Clark), we're a team in the consolation round where our star guards are shooting just about as well as Star Wars Stormtroopers do.
I don't want this team's story to end, but tonight it will. And the performance of our players will form the lasting impressions we have of them going into the long off-season of self-reflection and over-analysis.
For our sake, let's have a good game where our guys show us enough to leave some of the mystery in the desert. And return to Utah ready to start the next stage of our franchise's history.
Go Jazz Go.