UTAH JAZZ

Old, New Faces Flourish In Jazz Preseason Win

Dec 12, 2020, 10:50 PM | Updated: 10:50 pm
Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles defends Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Im...
Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles defends Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –Β Both new and old faces looked strong in the Utah Jazz preseason debut victory over the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz beat Phoenix 119-105 thanks to a three-point shooting barrage in which they connected on 17-41 deep balls.

Most of the Jazz shooting damage was done in the first half when they sunk 12-31 attempts from beyond the arch building a 62-51 lead at the break.

Georges Niang, who started in place of the resting Royce O’Neale was the only Jazz starter to play in the second half. No other Jazz starter played more than 17 minutes.

Familiar Faces Return to Jazz in Preseason

Bojan Bogdanovic made his return to the lineup felt, scoring 11 points while connecting on 4-10 shooting from the field. The Croatian forward hadn’t appeared in a Jazz uniform since March when the last NBA season was suspended. Bogdanovic had wrist surgery in May and missed the Jazz close to the year.

Derrick Favors wasted little time re-establishing himself with the Jazz second unit. The former Jazzman scored on an easy pick and roll with running mate Joe Ingles midway through the first quarter, while adding a free-throw line jump shot and two second-chance buckets.

Favors finished with eight points and three rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench, all of which came at the backup center position.

Ingles had an impressive seven assists in 14 minutes starting in place of the resting Mike Conley, including his connection with Favors.

“Joe’s got Rudy [Gobert] and Favs’,” Snyder said of Ingles pick and roll partners. “So they’re fighting over him a little bit because he’s so good at making plays for them.”

Ingles had his best stretch of basketball last season when Conley was sidelined, allowing the Australian guard to play alongside an effective pick and roll big man like Gobert.

Saturday’s performance alongside Favors was a welcome sign for the Jazz second unit, even when Conley returns.

New Faces

Those excited to see rookies Udoka Azubuike and Elijah Hughes were rewarded as the Jazz youngsters impressed in their debuts.

Azubuike scored his first NBA bucket off of a lob pass from Hughes which he threw down aggressively.

The big man scored six points on two alley-oop dunks and a crafty back to the basket finish against the Suns second unit. The BIG-12 Defensive Player of the Year added two blocks inΒ 13 minutes.

Hughes scored nine points in 12 minutes on 4-6 shooting. The wing showed off his shooting range knocking down one of his three long-distance attempts. The forward was able to show off his well developed offensive scoring on back door cuts and drives to the hoop in his first NBA minutes.

“I thought Elijah made some excellent plays offensively,” Snyder said. “They’re going keep figuring it out. Obviously, Dok as well protecting the rim.”

Nigel Williams-Goss whose future with the team became much murkier in recent days after the team signed free agent Shaq Harrison scored 15 points in 14 minutes after starting the second half.

The second-year guard connected on 3-4 shots from the floor, 2-2 from the three-point line, and made all seven of his free-throw attempts.

Rookie two-way guard Trent Forrest scored six points on two made baskets.

Jazz Bigger Lineups

After looking decidedly small in the Orlando bubble without Bogdanovic, Snyder was able to roll out a series of big lineups in the Jazz opener.

Though Favors and Gobert never shared the floor, the backup big man did see time with Bogdanovic and second-year forward Juwan Morgan.

While Morgan and Favors stand just 6’8, they bring much-needed length and physicality to the team’s rotation.

Where Favors and Gobert have struggled to space floor playing alongside one another, both Bogdanovic and Morgan continue to show they are trustworthy perimeter shooters.

Bogdanovic has already proven himself to be one of the league’s best shooters, while Morgan confidently made 3-4 three-point attempts in 21 minutes, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

Guard Miye Oni brought additional length in his defense against Suns star Devin Booker. Oni played 25 minutes, and though he scored just three points on 1-6 shooting, he proved to be a valuable body on the defensive end.

The Jazz will face the Suns again on Monday night before heading to New Orleans to finish the preseason.

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Old, New Faces Flourish In Jazz Preseason Win