After solid win over Suns, Jazz come home to rest

After solid win over Suns, Jazz come home to rest

SALT LAKE CITY — After his team played much better in a 104-99 win over Phoenix Wednesday night than it did in a loss at Portland two nights earlier, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder rewarded his team with a much-needed day off Thursday.

The Jazz have been practicing daily since opening camp 10 days ago — sometimes twice a day — and despite showing some good energy in spurts Wednesday, Snyder said his team needs a break from basketball more than anything right now.

“We need to get a little rest,” he said. “That’s the primary thing right now. I want to see a fresh team. We’ve worked really hard — these guys have put a lot into the last week.”

Snyder said the team will look at tape of their first couple of games and figure out ways they can get better.

“It’s going to be good to them to get off their feet — we haven’t had a spell like that since we started (camp),” he added.

In Wednesday night’s victory, the Jazz displayed positive energy and kept on top of the Suns most of the night, despite not having regulars Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood in the starting lineup because of minor injuries. They also didn’t have Dante Exum after the third-year guard hyper-extended his knee late in the first half and was kept out of action for “purely precautionary reasons” according to Snyder, who said he was “fine.”

“We had some other guys that had an opportunity to play and just went that direction,” Snyder said. “We’re trying to play a lot of people. I thought they played well together.”

Of the bench players, second-year forward Trey Lyles was most impressive, scoring 16 points with some nifty moves around the basket and pulling down seven rebounds. He made 6 of 10 field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“I was just taking advantage of opportunities, trying to knock down open shots,” Lyles said. “My teammates have confidence in me and I was trying to make plays.”

Another Jazz player who had a good night was center Rudy Gobert, who led the team with 21 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. He was especially impressive from the free-throw line, sinking 13 of 14 after shooting 57.5 percent from the line in his first three seasons.

“It was just confidence,” he said. “I work on it every day and I know that I’m a way better free-throw shooter than what my percentage said last year and for my career. So I just think that I’m going to make every one of them and that’s what I did today.”

One of coach Snyder’s complaints about his team was that the Suns won the physical battle at times inside as they outrebounded Utah 47-44 and came up with 22 offensive boards.

“I think I can and we can do a way better job,” said Gobert. “I think they had a lot of offensive rebounds. At the same time, they’re very physical and got into us pretty good. We need to do a way better job.”

JAZZ NOTES: Besides losing Exum for the second half, the Jazz also played without Favors, who had a sore knee and Hood, who had a left hand sprain. Also, Alec Burks is still not playing while he rehabs his leg injury from last year . . . Gordon Hayward had another efficient game, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He now has 32 points in 40 minutes on 10-of-18 shooting in his two preseason games . . . Center Jeff Withey, who is trying to grab the final roster spot, played 17 solid minutes with three rebounds, two blocked shots and a posterizing dunk over Alan Williams in the second half that brought his teammates on the bench to their feet . . . The Jazz have a few days before their next game Monday in Los Angeles against the Clippers. After that game, they’ll return home to face the Suns again Wednesday before playing a pair of games the following Monday and Wednesday against the Clippers and Portland, respectively . . . For the second straight game, Henry Sims, Eric Dawson and Quincy Ford didn’t get off the bench for Utah Wednesday night.

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Published at Fri, 07 Oct 2016 03:00:00 +0000