The second day of Jazz Summer League was underway at Vivint Arena on Tuesday night to a thunderous crowd. After a relatively exciting start, the fans were treated to some more uneven results. One of the games was an embarrassing blowout while the other was an epic near-comeback that pleased the attendees.
It did not have the exact same results as day one, but day two was yet another mixed bag.
Game 1: San Antonio Spurs vs. Atlanta Hawks
The Spurs made easy work out of the Hawks, crushing them 103-81. The route was very impressive since the Spurs opted not to play their most recent first-round pick, Lonnie Walker IV, but the team didn’t miss a beat without him. The balanced attack of Jaron Blossomgame, Chimezie Metu, Derrick White, Jeff Ledbetter, Amida Brimah and Raphiael Putney powered the easy route.
The story of the evening, however, was the continued struggles of Trae Young. After a not very encouraging debut in the summer league, Young didn’t do so much better in his second outing. While his passing and defense have arguably exceeded expectations, his scoring prowess has failed to translate so far in the summer league. Young shot 5-for-16 from the field including 1-for-5 from three-point range. Despite his struggles, Young remained optimistic about both his own and his team’s performance going forward.
“My shot wasn’t falling, but I found ways just like I did in the last game to impact the game,” Young said. “My main thing right now is to make the right plays. As a team, we’re not knocking down the shots that we are eventually going to hit. I’m excited that we are getting the looks that we are getting. We’re just not knocking down shots right now.”
As for the rest of the team, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was disappointed with the loss but chalked it up to the young guys learning the ropes of the game.
“We got young guys who all come out and want to play at their own pace and the game doesn’t work that way,” Pierce said. “For me, it’s all about lessons. There’s a lot of teaching points that we will get, there’s a lot of teaching points that we will use, and there’s a lot of teaching points that we will keep talking about.”
Game 2: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz
The Grizzlies pulled out of a close one in a tight 95-92 victory over the Jazz. After the Spurs blew out the Hawks, it seemed the audience was doomed for a repeat in game two. The Grizzlies stormed out of the gate, building up a lead as high as 26 points, but the Jazz hung in there to take their lead with mere minutes to go. But Kobi Simmons, Deyonta Davis, and Wayne Selden came through in the clutch to lead their team to victory.
The story of the night was obviously the comeback that the Jazz nearly achieved. The team was without first-round pick Grayson Allen, so the challenge was going to be harder. Though the first half wasn’t pretty, the team managed a way to claw itself back into it. Coach Mike Wells wasn’t happy with the final result, but he was proud of his guys for making the proper adjustments that helped them literally play the team’s brand of basketball in the second half.
“The whole second half was Jazz basketball where you can chop the game up a little bit more, set your defense, get a little more physical,” Wells said. “I liked our energy. I liked our toughness. I like how our guys battled back and competed.”
Naz Mitrou-Long echoed the same sentiment from his coach on the term “Utah Jazz basketball” and how the defense was its main ingredient in the second half.
“It was just an emphasis on defense,” Mitrou-Long said. “That’s Utah Jazz basketball from the top to the bottom. That’s what they preach and that’s what coach was really trying to emphasize… That’s what the comeback was and really put us in a position to win.”
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