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NBA Summer League 2014: Dante Exum and Utah Jazz hold on to defeat Portland Trail Blazers 75-73

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FUN GAME!

This. Many, many times over.
This. Many, many times over.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams that hate each other. Grudge match after all those playoff games. Both teams trying to save face after being bounced in the early in the LVSL tournament. So, of course the first points of this game came on Meyers Leonard layup with 6:59 left in the first quarter. Yeesh.

Both teams were struggling early, to say the least.

The teams didn't score again until a minute later, a C.J. McCollum layup. That made the combined FG shooting for the two teams 2 of 16. This is the fourth game in five nights for both teams. It shows. The Utah Jazz got on the board with two Rudy Gobert free throws. This is how we score now, I guess. I think it's fair to say that we weren't this bad with Trey Burke at the point. (N.B. Trey Burke is not playing tonight because of DNP-This is Summer League)

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This game was rough, multitude of air balls for both sides. Rougher for the Jazz. Interesting that NBA TV guy Brent Barry is talking about how the Jazz need to de-program guys like Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter from the years under Tyrone Corbin . But hey, that's none of my business again. Only the bad fans at SLC Dunk are the ones who are inventing the idea that Ty wasn't a great coach, right? Not an NBA champion who is the son of a Hall of Famer, who also had three other brothers play pro basketball.

Of course, what Brent Barry says was more interesting than the Jazz, who are down 11-4 after the first quarter. The Jazz shot 1/19. What the heck guys? I guess it's Friday for them too.

The Jazz got into it in the second by making three threes in a row (Erik Murphy had two), and the margin was just 2 points, but then the Blazers pushed it back up to a multiple possession game. The main point at this stage in the tournament is just to see flashes of NBA ability from our players. Rudy Gobert demonstrated that easily with his ability to just sky above the rim and throw down two handed dunks. He had a few in the second quarter, in fact he tied the game on up his last one. With less than 30 seconds left in the half Rodney Hood hit a spot up three pointer, and gave the Jazz their first lead of the game, after once being down by as much as nine earlier in this quarter.

Portland called a time out, they missed, the Jazz got it back in transition and on a two on one got it to Dante Exum with 3.6 seconds left and he got fouled HARD. Not good. He sank both free throws, and the Jazz took the half time lead 29-25 -- after losing the entire game up to the last 2 minutes. So I guess they are learning from the San Antonio Spurs already!

At the half, Rudy had 8 pts (3/5 FG, 2/3 FT), 11 rebounds (3 off), and only 2 fouls. Erik Murphy hit two threes, and added 3 rebounds. Rodney Hood had 5 points, 2 rebounds, and hit a three. Ian Clark was 0-7, but had 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Dante Exum was 0-4, but had 2 points, 3 assists, and 1 rebound. Both teams shot poorly.

With the halftime speech of "Let's go, only 20 more minutes to go!" the teams brought it in the third quarter. The Jazz went on a tear, with Malcolm Thomas throwing down a nice slam, and then on the next play getting a nice dish to Rudy for a reverse layup to put the Jazz up by 11. (It was an And-1, where he made the FT after) Utah continued to up the defensive pressure and a Dante Exum steal and breakaway jam necessitated another TV timeout.

The Blazers came back firing and got within 1 with 4:22 in the left of the quarter, this is what happens when you are on a 12-2 run. Not-surprisingly, this happened when the Murphies were on the floor, and not the Gobert / Hoods. Thomas drained a long three to answer. Shortly after Nick Covington converted on an And-1 and the Jazz were up by 10 again. Immediately after Rudy Gobert sent a shot back to France. This is the talent of the team that had many of us expecting more than a 2nd round exit in Vegas. Craig Brackins hit a three for the Blazers, leaving 3.3 seconds on the clock, and Dante Exum got the inbounds in his back court and took it all the way to the rim for a buzzer beating layup. After three the Jazz were up 55-46.

Ian Clark started to take over to start the fourth, trying to keep the Blazers at bay, but they started to claw back.C.J. McCollum tied the game on a jumper with 6:41 to go in the game. It was on a late Gobert close out. So, of course, Brock Motum throws an oop to Gobert on the next play. It didn't go down, but the Jazz got the ball back, and Malcolm Thomas made another three, to keep Utah in the lead. (Rodney Hood got the rebound and assist)

If someone is going to be taking and making threes, Ian Clark wants to be that guy, and after a TV time out he drained another one, and it felt so good he hopped up again in place before it even swished in. Jazz were up by 6 with 4:50 to play. His hawtness carried the Jazz down the stretch, and he had a very good series of two-man plays, either with Gobert setting screens, or Thomas cutting.

Will Barton tied the game at 71-71 with 1:30 left in the game; but guys like Thomas, Gobert, Exum, and Clark were just too productive to defeat. Not only did Exum get the game winning points, but the game sealing steal with 1.9 seconds left. Jazz win 75-73.

Final Stats:

  • Exum: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, was a +17 on the court, went 3/4 from the FT line, controlled the tempo of the game, and attacked when he should have. Very smart on offense and defense.
  • Clark: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, made a bunch of key shots and plays down the stretch.
  • Hood: 7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, struggled with his shot, but did make that key three.
  • Thomas: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 threes, very solid play all summer long.
  • Gobert: 11 points, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks, did everything you'd ask of him. Was a load for Portland to handle inside.
  • Covington: 12 points off the bench, 5/6 FG, 1/2 3pt, 1/1 FT.
  • Murphy: 6 points off of two threes, 4 rebounds
  • Giffey: 4 points, got to the line, added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal
  • Motum: totally gassed, but had 3 assists

Great game, more LVSL news later on tonight from us all here at SLC Dunk