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.