Game Two of NBA Summer League
August 11th, 2021
Game Two of NBA Summer League
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks
Before tonight’s game, the Utah Jazz signed Trent Forrest to a two-way contract. What this means for the Jazz is that they’ve locked down their second-year undrafted player with tremendous ability to command the floor while keeping their final roster spot still available. Forrest made the most of his two-way contract helping the Jazz in the playoffs with point guard relief with Mike Conley being injured for most of the playoffs.
First Half Analysis
The Jazz show early that they still have plenty of confidence rolling over from their previous game, starting off the game on a 10-0 run, causing the Mavericks to use a timeout very early unto the game. Following that run, the Mavericks went onto a 11-6 run before they went on to call their final timeout of the half. Just like the game against Phoenix, Udoka Azubuike is making his presence known on defense, having two blocks in the first quarter, which is how much had for the entirety of the game against the Suns. Though the Jazz are showing promise on the defensive end, the score at the end of the first quarter was 18-17. As they push forward through the second quarter, there was a lot of basket exchanges and scoreboard malfunctions (scoreboard was delayed by multiple baskets until adjust to 29-30 Mavericks led by one). Elijah Hughes started showing some confidence as he tried to get an easy assist to Jarrell Martin, forward from the Sydney Kings, but then became heavily contested and even on the following possession tried to create a poster with an emphatic dunk. With this energy, the Mavericks seemed to find their team chemistry and outscored the Jazz 21-16 in the second quarter as the Jazz go into the half down 38-33. Unfortunately for the Mavs, both Tariq Owens (knee) and Tyrell Terry (groin) will not return to the game.
Second Half Analysis
To start off the second quarter, the Jazz still struggle with turnovers. Granted they have been better in this game as far as total turnovers, but they are still considered very high for the NBA level. With Utah being a known three-point shooting team, it has made it easy for the Jazz to dish the ball to Azubuike down low with him finishing with such aggression at the rim. So far in the NBA Summer League, Azubuike’s shot have almost come exclusively through dunks, all but one of his shots, including the Salt Lake City Summer League, have been dunks. In the third quarter, the Mavericks must’ve taken a few words of advice from their coach due to their three-pointers finding the basket going 4-6 from three in the first five minutes of the quarter. MaCio Teague went on an individual run, scoring eight straight points to bring the lead back to the Jazz, forcing the Mavericks to take a timeout as the Jazz led 55-51. Devontae Shuler, guard for the Mavericks, should be turning some heads for some NBA front offices. With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Shuler was 3-5 from three-point range. The shooting from beyond the mark has not been a strength for either team in this game but those shots, but when those shots fall, the momentum shift is felt in the arena and from home. Dakota Mathias had silently been draining midrange jumpers when Forrest has been giving the point duties to Mathias. Robert Franks, forward/center for the Mavericks, from Washington State, who filled in for Tariq Owens, is showing executives that he’s a stretch-four player going 4-6 from three and a clutch contested three with one minute left in regulation. Once again Azubuike is showing fans and the Jazz organization that he was worth their first round draft pick last year, giving Elijah Hughes an assist for three with 3.3 seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime with a score of 75-75.
Before we analyze overtime, here are the rules for NBA Summer League in overtime:
First Overtime will be two minutes and each team will be allotted one timeout each. If the score is still tied after the end of overtime, the game will go into sudden death and the first basket wins the game.
In the NBA world the Jazz are known mainly for their great three-point shooting but with Azubuike’s sixth block of the night, one shy of Jaren Jackson Jr.’s record, should be known for their defensive presence as well. In order for that to happen, the Jazz must improve on lowering their turnover total. With 25 seconds left in overtime, Elijah Hughes was fouled by LJ Figueroa which after the replay, looked like a clean block but the ruling was a shooting foul with three free throws award to Hughes. Hughes went 2-3 from the line, missing the final free throw, but Azubuike got the offensive rebound and got fouled as he dunked the ball. Azubuike missed the free throw and Utah managed to get the offensive rebound once again and regrouped at the top of the floor. Trent Forrest drove to the basket and had a very difficult layup with a lot of contact, but as the young guard will learn very quickly, when a game starts physical and comes down to these types of baskets, the referees are going to let the players be physical and not call common fouls. Now with the start of the second overtime, we have another jump ball at center court and Azubuike wins the tip sent right to Forrest. With the last shot of the first overtime on his mind, he drove to the basket in what felt like a redemption shot and was fouled in the process. Forrest went to the free throw line and missed the first shot making the Dallas bench get rowdy, but Forrest drained the second free throw and waved goodbye to the Dallas bench as if he were Damian Lillard waving to Oklahoma City, winning the game 81-80.
With this back-and-forth game, it shows that these NBA Summer League games have the same type of heart as a regular season game with these players playing with the hope of earning an NBA contract. The Dallas Mavericks have some promising players that show resilience and commanding leadership having their squad step up as their teammates come down with injuries. For the Jazz, it was yet another great showing for their young group and an even more promising future for the organization, hours after signing Trent Forrest to another two-way contract showing the front office that they made the right decision as he locked down the win. Now coming off of their second straight win in Vegas and sixth straight win including Salt Lake, the Jazz will face the Miami Heat, who also played a double overtime game today, on Friday, August 13th. With both teams coming off of double overtime wins, it’ll be interesting to see which team will come on top and which clutch shooter will continue their success.