Game(s) of the night: Where the Jazz don’t look too good, but Orlando does

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The first TNT Thursday night of the year, and thank goodness Chuck, Kenny, EJ and C-Webb were in rare form so something tonight was entertaining.

Phoenix 110, Jazz 94: Deron Williams said after the game that the new-look Jazz just don’t know the offense. It looked it.

The flex offense and motion that are Jerry Sloan’s Jazz — and get them a handful of easy buckets every game — are no more. At least not right now. Jefferson is a post player not deft at the pick-and-pop play that has been a Jazz staple for decades. And when the ball goes in the block the off-the-ball movement from Utah went away because Jefferson isn’t a great passer and wasn’t going to pass it anyway.

The result was jump shooting Jazz. Who missed a lot (as a team they shot 42 percent and were 3 of 13 from beyond the arc). Deron Williams and Raja Bell combined to shoot 6-24. If you really want to fuel the Suns running game, take and miss a lot of long jumpers.

The Suns just have shooters all over the lineup and can have nights like this, ones where the bench puts up 50. Ones where Goran Dragic can dominate a game during an eight-minute stretch in the first half. Without somebody to protect the paint on defense the Jazz give up too many easy buckets.

Utah has Oklahoma City next. After a perfect preseason they could star 0-3.

Orlando 112, Washington 83: It felt like another preseason game for the Magic,

This one was a blowout from the first quarter on. Orlando won this game on the inside — they shot 28-36 (77.8 percent shooting) in the paint, with 21 of those shots right at the rim, on their way to 56 points inside. The Wizards had no real answer for the Magic length. Or outside shooting. Or off-the-ball movement. Or, Vince Carter when he decided to drive. Or… you get the picture.

The good part of the blowout is Stan Van Gundy got to rest his starters — nobody played more than 30 minutes — for the game against the Heat on Friday. That will be a better team to measure the early-season Magic against.

The question about the Wizards becomes are they just bad defensively or was this a bad matchup for them? Maybe a little of column A, a little of column B. But Cartier Martin put up 17 and blocked Dwight Howard, so that’s something.

Watch the top 60 clutch shots from last NBA season

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It’s that time of the year when there is no basketball, so we fill the time with idle Kyrie Irving speculation and video highlights of last season.

Along those lines, above you can out the top 60 clutch shots from last season, as determined by the folks at NBA.com.

The great thing about the clutch shot list is the ball is in the hands of stars at the ends of games, so there is plenty of Russell Westbrook, John Wall, LeBron James, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and more. Personally, I would have switch No. 1 and No. 2 on the list, but it’s all fun to relive.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert: Pacers ‘could have done better’ on Paul George trade

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Kyrie Irving has requested a trade. LeBron James could leave next summer. The Cavaliers keep churning through general managers, the newest – Koby Altman – the reason for today’s press conference.

But Cavs owner Dan Gilbert looked past his own team’s turmoil and potential turmoil to take a shot at the Pacers, who traded Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

“I will say Indiana could have done better than they did,” Gilbert said after Altman refused to directly address a question about George trade talks and shifted the discussion elsewhere.

This didn’t strike me as Gilbert trying to distract from Cleveland’s troubles. He just seemed to want to take a shot at a foe, something he’s no stranger to doing. The Cavaliers are particularly salty about their trade offer for George, which included Kevin Love, not being accepted.

For what it’s worth, Gilbert is right. The Pacers should have done better. Oladipo is now on a lucrative contract extension, and Sabonis spent his rookie season showcasing the reasons people doubted him the draft. That’s a piddling return for a star, even one on an expiring contract with dreams of joining the Lakers.

Report: Kings meet with former Magic GM Otis Smith about front-office job

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The Kings lost Scott Perry to the Knicks, so Sacramento is seeking someone else to aid Vlade Divac in the front office.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Former Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith has met with Sacramento Kings officials about the franchise’s vacant vice president of basketball operations job, league sources told ESPN.

Smith has plenty of experience, which Divac lacks. But it’s not all good experience.

Running the Magic, Smith made numerous errors – including drafting Fran Vazquez (who has never played in the NBA) No. 11, overpaying Rashard Lewis and then trading Lewis for Gilbert Arenas’ even worse contract. If Smith’s Orlando tenure is predictive, he’ll indulge the Kings’ worst tendencies to mortgage the future for the present.

That said, Smith might have learned from his time with the Magic (though working under Stan Van Gundy with the Pistons the few couple years isn’t exactly the best place to hone long-term-planning skills). What amounts to an assistant general-manager role might be a better fit for him, too.

Usually, this opening wouldn’t garner so much attention. But Perry was lavished with praise for Sacramento’s offseason, raising the profile of this job – which already carried relative prominence. The No. 2 in the Kings’ front office is now perceived, somewhat fairly, as more important than the typical assistant general manager.

Lakers sign Tyler Ennis to minimum contract

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Jut before the trade deadline, the Lakers took a flier on Tyler Ennis, who had struggled in two-plus seasons with the Suns, Bucks and Rockets.

The former No. 18 pick finally looked like an NBA player in Los Angeles, so he’s returning.

Lakers release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Tyler Ennis, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

This is fantastic value for the Lakers. Ennis is probably worth a minimum salary, and if he is, they have him for two years at that price. If not, they can drop him for no cost next summer, when their cap room will be at a premium. This is the type of bet smart teams make, which bodes well for the Magic Johnson regime.

Ennis’ productivity in Los Angeles might not be sustainable. He shot well above his career marks on 3-pointers and free throws in a small sample. But he looked more comfortable on the court, showing some of the savvy he was expected to bring from Syracuse. He’s also just 22, and point guards tend to develop later than other positions.

The Lakers still have their room exception, which they could use on another point guard. So, it’s uncertain whether Ennis will back up Lonzo Ball or fall to third string. I’m not sure any remaining free-agent point guards – Ty Lawson, Deron Williams, Brandon Jennings, Ramon Sessions – will command more than the minimum or playing time over Ennis, though.