Jazz 98 (2-1) Nets (0-3) 69 – “Burke Sits, Kidd Loses Again”
Trey Burke didn’t play in today’s game, and midway through the second quarter he was shown sitting next to the Jazz coaching staff with a calamitous look on his face. In his place was Brazilian National, Raul Neto, who showed an elite-level handle and composure against ball-pressure (7 points and 3 assists 4 rebounds in 19 minutes). Neto hasn’t been allowed to practice with the Jazz at all because of FIBA rules, making his encouraging debut that much more impressive. Veterans, Jeremy Evans and Alec Burks paced the scoring for the Jazz by adding 15 and 14 points respectively.
Chris Wright led the way for the Nets with 20 points on 8-13 from the field, while Mason Plumlee put in a weak effort with 4 points 2 rebounds and a game-worst -27 +/-. It seemed that Mason was bothered by the size of Jazz center, Rudy Gobert, as he only took 4 shots in 25 minutes. Another struggling Net was second year guard, Tyshawn Taylor, who had 10 points on 5-13 shooting with 3 assists and 6 turnovers – not the kind of numbers Kidd is looking for from his potential backup point guard. For now, it appears as though C.J. Watson’s minutes are safe.
I’m not sure who I feel worse for at this point between Trey Burke and Jason Kidd.
Thunder (4-0) 74 76ers (0-3) 62 – “Lamb, Licking His Chops”
Just when I thought Michael Carter-Williams was “figuring it out,” ironically, it appears as though opposing teams have figured him out. The Thunder defense give him space, and let him shoot himself into the ground as he went 3-16 from the field and 0-4 from behind the arc. He’s now shooting just 15-59 (25.4%) from the field this week. MCW must improve his shot or teams will continue to give him space and protect against his ability to penetrate into the lane. On the bright side for Philly, former Minnesota guard, Rodney Williams, showed off his athletic ability and finished the day with 12 points on 4-7 from the field.
For the Thunder, today was Jeremy Lamb’s breakout party as he poured in 32 points on 10-14 from the field. Despite his 8 turnovers, Lamb looked like a guy who could carry some of the scoring load in the regular season for the Thunder. After Reggie Jackson’s 35 point outburst, and Lamb’s 32 today, the Thunder should feel slightly better about letting Kevin Martin go to Minnesota.
Rockets (3-0) 85 Celtics (2-2) 78 – “The Olynyk Clinic Continues”
Terrence Jones had 17 points and grabbed 6 rebounds as the Rockets continued their winning ways against the Olynyk Clinic, and the Celtics. Despite going 3-12 from the field, Jones was 10-14 from the line, and showed his ability to handle the ball and get into the lane. After trading both Royce White and Thomas Robinson this week, the Rockets must feel confident enough for Jones and Donatas Montiejunas to serve as suitable backups for the 3/4 positions.
Unsurprisingly or surprising – whichever you like – Kelly Olynyk once again dominated offensively, by adding 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics. He’s now 31/54 (57.4%) from the field this week. Tony Mitchell had his first stinker of the week going 1-9 from the field and missing all four of his three-point attempts in 19 minutes of action, but I still feel good about his chances to be a Celtic come November. I also like Phil Pressy’s (6 points 10 assists) chances to make the C’s roster, as he clearly has the offensive instincts to be an NBA point guard.
Lastly, Celtics second-round pick Colton Iverson, pulled down 8 rebounds in 18 minutes of action, but continued to be absent on offense. He has a chance to make the team based solely on his rebounding ability, and he doesn’t show much upside anywhere else. I still can’t figure out why the Celtics traded up to get him…