Utah Jazz round-up: Solid defense leads to 2-1 regular season start

Utah Jazz's Trey Burke shoots against Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner during the second half of the game.  The Jazz beat the Pacers 97-76. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Utah Jazz’s Trey Burke shoots against Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner during the second half of the game. The Jazz beat the Pacers 97-76. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Utah Jazz (2-1) made quite a splash this past week as regular season started off with two wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indiana Pacers, as well as a loss to the Detroit Pistons.

These games came after the announcement that the Jazz’s playing venue will be renamed the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Utah battled back from a nine-point deficit to take a one-point lead against the Pistons in the regular season opener on Wednesday, Oct. 28 but wasn’t able to hold on in a 92-87 loss to in Detroit.

The Jazz scored several points in a row on a 6-0 run, including a crucial layup by forward Gordon Hayward to put the Jazz ahead 87-86 with just 23 seconds left. Detroit then called a timeout and Utah did not score again in the game as Detroit came away with the win.

Utah had a better field goal shooting percentage than Detroit, making 46.7 percent to the Pistons’ 40.5 percent. But Utah fell short in the 3-pointer department, as rookie guard Raul Neto’s two 3-pointers were the team’s only 3-pointers out of 12 attempts.

Neto made his NBA regular season debut as a starter, scoring two-of-three 3-pointers while the rest of the team shot a combined zero-for-nine. He also had eight points on 3-of-6 shooting and three assists while committing only one turnover.

“I mean, you saw him. That’s what he’s been doing,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said in a press release on the Jazz website. “He made a couple of shots, and defensively he’s just solid. He gets us into some stuff [on offense].”

Forward Derrick Favors scored a team-high 26 points, including 15 points in just the first half. Center Rudy Gobert led the Jazz with 12 rebounds and three blocks while guard Rodney hood had six assists.

Forward Trevor Booker did not play and served his one-game suspension for swinging at L.A. Lakers player Roy Hibbard in preseason play.

The Jazz got their first win of the season in a 99-71 victory over the 76ers two nights later on Friday, Oct 30. Utah shot 40.9 percent and held Philadelphia to just 30.2 percent.

Favors led the Jazz with 20 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and three steals.

Burke and Alec Burks came in off the bench and contributed nicely. Burks made his playing time count, scoring 15 points and recording seven rebounds in 27 minutes. Burke had 10 points and six assists in 28 minutes of play.

Utah played good defense and Gobert earned his nickname “The Stifle Tower” as a blocking machine with six blocks on the night. One of this blocks went all the way to half-court.

The Jazz ended their three-game road trip with a 97-76 win in Indiana. The Pacers scored 29 points in the first quarter and led by as many as 10 points. Utah was down by seven at halftime, but came alive and held Indiana to just 20 points in the second half.

Snyder said “defense travels” and the team is proud of their defensive efforts.

“We’ve wanted to be a good road team, and that begins with playing good defense,” Snyder said in a press release. “I think that’s what happened the last two nights. We didn’t get off to a good start tonight, but our defense got stronger as the game went on and I think our guys really came together.”

Gobert had 17 rebounds, evidence of the Jazz’s defensive play. Utah shot 44.3 percent as Favors led the way with 18 points while Hood had 17.

The Jazz will return home play their first game in the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Root Sports. It can be listened to on The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM & 1280 AM), online with NBA.com Audio League Pass or with the Utah Jazz App.

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