What Did Will Hardy Say About First Game Of New Jazz Era?

Oct 3, 2022, 1:05 PM
Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy (photo: NBA Content)
(photo: NBA Content)

SALT LAKE CITY – Will Hardy called the Utah Jazz preseason-opening loss to the Toronto Raptors a “tale of two halves.”

The Jazz narrowly trailed Toronto after two quarters but were blown out in the second half, ultimately falling 114-82.

“I think at halftime it was 50-49,” Hardy said. “We hadn’t really made many shots, but we had executed well and actually guarded well in the half court.”

The Jazz held Toronto to 43 percent shooting from the floor and forced 11 turnovers. However, the Raptors opened the second half on a 10-0 run and the Jazz were unable to narrow the lead.

“Second half, part of it’s probably some fatigue, part of it is we got a little bit disorganized,” Hardy admitted. “Our communication wasn’t very good in the second half and it starts with me. I need to continue in those moments to make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

The Jazz managed just 33 points over the third and four quarters while shooting a dreadful 24 percent from the floor and 22 percent from the three-point line.

“This is a new group that’s all learning each other and there’s adversity in any NBA game,” Hardy said. “Tonight we didn’t deal with that adversity at the beginning of the second half very well.”

Hardy Praises Walker Kessler

It wasn’t all bad for the Jazz in their preseason opener. Rookie Walker Kessler had two impactful stints on the court including a seven point second quarter.

The rookie was acquired in the Rudy Gobert trade and looked like a promising addition to the roster.

“It was a classic first NBA game, he had some really, really bright spots, and I think he had some welcome to the NBA moments,” Hardy said of Kessler.

The Auburn product’s night got off to a rough start after Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa drove to the hoop and dunked over the Kessler.

However, the young center quickly bounced back getting his first NBA basket on a drive to the hoop where he finished through contact and earned a trip to the free throw line.

“There’s definitely some bright spots to build on,” Hardy said. “And there’s always some technique and learning that needs to go on. And that’ll be addressed with him.”

Kessler finished the game with 11 points and four rebounds in 13 minutes on the floor.

Jazz Next Broadcast

Hardy and the Jazz return to the court on Tuesday night in Portland to face the Trail Blazers. The game tips off at 8 pm and will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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