Week one of preseason play for the Utah Jazz (2-1) began with two wins over the L.A. Lakers (0-3) in Hawaii and a loss against the Phoenix Suns (2-0) in Arizona.
The Jazz first beat the L.A. Lakers on Sunday, Oct. 4 with a score of 90-71. Gordon Hayward had 11 points on the night. He said in a post-game interview he thought it was a typical first game. They played solid defense as Hayward expected, and the flow of the offense will come.
“Offensively, we were a bit sloppy, not as crisp,” Hayward said. “But for the most part, I thought we played well. We’ll start to get it on the offensive end.”
Derrick Favors had 16 points and nine rebounds while Raul Neto had six assists. Laker guard Kobe Bryant had only five points in the game.
Two days later on Tuesday, Oct. 6 the Jazz came out victorious again beating the Lakers 117-114 in overtime. Both rookie Trey Lyles and head coach Quin Snyder said it did not feel like a preseason game.
Alec Burks led the way with 27 points and six assists while Lyles had eight rebounds. Bryant scored 13 points in 21 minutes of play.
Rodney Hood mentioned playing against Lakers players known for their great reputations in a post-game interview, such as guard Louis Williams who led the Lakers with 20 points.
“It’s a tough take, you can only try to contain those type of guys,” Hood said. “As a team, we got some big stops down the stretch when we needed.
The Jazz played without a traditional point guard in the absence of injured Dante Exum. Snyder said all of the players on the floor need to know the role of a point guard and different players will have opportunities to fill that role. He wants the team to get to a point where they can tag-team with each other.
“It may be a little different every night, but that’s the consistent part—that’s a role in and of itself,” Snyder said.
Forward Trevor Booker received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game for hitting Laker player Roy Hibbert in the head. He was suspended for one game without pay, according to the NBA’s official press release. Booker will miss the Jazz’s season-opening game against the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 28.
Snyder did not have a chance to speak with Booker before his post-game interview but said the team needs to “try to control [their] emotions.”
The Jazz then traveled to Arizona to play the Suns on Friday, Oct. 9. and Phoenix came out on top with a win 101-85.
Utah hit nine shots in a row at one time and capitalized on 14 of their first 18 possessions. But the Phoenix defense was successful and caused 10 of the Jazz’s 20 total turnovers in the third quarter and they couldn’t bounce back.
Hayward had 20 points and three assists and also tied with Hood for four rebounds each.
The Jazz will play its preseason home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers (1-1) on Monday, October 12. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. (MDT). The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports and can be listened to on The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM and 1280 AM) and the Utah Jazz mobile app.