If Will Hardy was hoping a change of scenery would improve the Utah Jazz’s offensive prowess, well, it didn’t work out too well.
In its second preseason game, the Jazz once again struggled to hit shots and create against the Los Angeles Clippers, though it being preseason there was a rally by end-of-rotation/training camp players that made the game more competitive later in the game.
Still, the Clippers won 103-98 taking revenge for the loss they took against the Jazz in the preseason opener.
The Clippers kicked things off by building a 9-2 lead and then maintained a similar margin for essentially the entire time regular rotation players were in. Utah made one big run in the first half, powered entirely by Jordan Clarkson who scored eight straight points in a roughly one-minute span to make it a two-point game 31-29, but the Clippers pulled away again,
Utah would tie the game 66-66 in the third quarter and had it close in the fourth at 88-86, but the Jazz never led in this game and the 66-all tie was the last time the game would be even.
The Jazz started the game with the same starting five as the preseason opener — Collin Sexton and Talen Horton-Tucker in the backcourt with Lauri Markkanen, John Collins and Walker Kessler in the frontcourt.
That starting group struggled to be competitive on the scoreboard, much as it did on Sunday. The Clippers’ core of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were quite effective as a lineup, particularly on defense as it forced lots of turnovers early. George and Westbrook weren’t especially efficient, combining to go 1-of-10 from the field, but that trio plus Robert Covington as part of the starting lineup, were each at least +11 in the plus/minus category.
Individually, Talen Horton-Tucker had the best game, going for 24 points, but most of that came after many of the starters and rotation players on both sides had already hit the bench for the night.
For those hoping to see Taylor Hendricks or Brice Sensabaugh, two highly-regarded first-round draft picks by the Jazz, you had to wait until very late in the game. Hendricks checked in for the first time at the 4:51 mark of the fourth quarter and Sensabaugh did not play. Hendricks wound up with just one rebound to his name to go with a pair of fouls and a missed field goal attempt.
Keyonte George played a roughly five-minute stretch in the first quarter and then came in later when the main rotation players were starting to trickle out. His performance mirrored his previous outing quite a bit in not only time he played but in his production and efficiency. He finished with 10 points and five assists — just like last time — going 2-for-7 from the field in 22 minutes of play.
Right now the Jazz remain in experimentation mode, both with inserting Collins into the frontcourt and, well, the entire backcourt. We’ve seen one set of rotations and starters for the backcourt, we’ll see if the remaining preseason games have a different combination as Hardy continues to evaluate the players he’s got.