It may be the preseason, but those who watched may have learned some things during Saturday’s Utah Jazz-Los Angeles Clippers tilt. First, the Clippers are a very deep, talented team that will contend. Second, the Jazz will experience a lot of growing pains this season. Los Angeles simply dominated Utah from the get-go, running away with a 106-74 blowout victory.
Fresh off a summer where the Clippers made moves to bolster an already strong team, they looked very much like a team to reckon with this upcoming season. They came out with intensity, excellent shooting and gritty defense. They were diving on the floor and were extremely active on both ends of the court. Conversely, the Jazz looked tentative and overwhelmed. Los Angeles darted out to a quick 12-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
The sound defeat was made even worse with the news that rookie point guard Trey Burke fractured a finger. He will be re-evaluated on Monday.
Hot and cold shooting
The Clippers came out firing, showing their cohesiveness and talent. Utah, on the other hand, looked discombobulated in its sets. In the first half, the Jazz had eight more field goal attempts than the Clippers, yet made nine less. Utah was 13 of 46 from the field (28.3 percent) while Los Angeles was 22 of 38 (57.9 percent).
The third quarter was much of the same. While L.A. cooled off a bit in the fourth, it finished with a 55.1 percent shooting evening. This included 11 three-pointers on 22 attempts. In limited minutes, the Clippers' starters combined to shoot 21 of 33. Their Utah counterparts managed to hit just 13 of 43.
The bubble guys
With the game decided early on, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin used much of the second half to give the training camp free agents opportunities to show what they can do. That said, no one wowed with their performances.
Dominic McGuire was solid in his 15 minutes, doing a lot of the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Given that he’s received decent playing time in each of Utah’s three games, he might be a favorite to earn a roster spot. Veteran shooter Brian Cook showed that he can still stroke it from the outside, notching five points in the fourth quarter. Scott Machado was scoreless but dished out four assists. Should Burke’s injury keep him out, Machado’s chances of sticking might have improved.
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- Former Brigham Young University star Brandon Davies made the most of his return to Utah, hitting a trio of three-pointers. He finished with nine points in 16 minutes.
- Led by All-NBA point guard Chris Paul’s 10 assists, the Clippers assisted on 29 of their 43 total made shots — 67.4 percent. Darren Collison also handed out 10 dimes.
- Every Utah player had a negative +/- for the evening, while each Clipper registered a positive mark.
- It’s early yet, but forward Richard Jefferson had his best outing in a Jazz uniform. He finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, leading the team in both categories.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops, the ESPN.com affiliate covering the Jazz. He is on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.