Basketball is finally back. The 2016-17 season is finally underway, and although it is only the preseason, Gordon Hayward looked to be in midseason form Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Playing just 18 minutes in the season-opening exhibition, Gordon still tallied a game-high 17 points and grabbed three rebounds while shooting just under 50 percent from the field and 88 percent from the free throw line. No Utah player logged more than 25 minutes on the night in a 98-89 loss.
Gordon opened things up with a long 3-pointer for Utah’s first points, sparking a 13-0 run that gave the Jazz a 13-2 lead early. However, Portland battled back and gave Utah some points of emphasis when they return to the practice court.
“We started the game, I think, very well on the defensive end and as a result got some things offensively,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s going to take us a while, I think, offensively to find some cohesion. I’d like to see us guard better throughout the course of the game.”
G-Time played a large majority of his minutes in the first half. He totaled 12 points in the first quarter alone, though the Blazers pushed out to a 30-28 lead.
He came back with five more points in the even second period as Portland took a two-point, 53-51 lead into the break. By this point, most of Gordon’s work was finished. He checked out for good at the 8:11 mark.
Utah fell behind by a dozen in the third before battling back to within single digits in the fourth. But the Jazz reserves couldn’t complete the comeback.
“I think we have things that we need to work on,” Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood said. “We have to get back on defense, and clean some things up offensively. But that’s what the preseason is for. I think we’ll be better the next game.”
No. 20 led all players on both teams in scoring, and more impressively did it in the fewest amount of minutes of any player who scored at least 10 points.
The Jazz have five more preseason games, and then they start the regular season and its quest for the playoffs on Oct. 25, also against the Trail Blazers.
Utah goes right back at it Wednesday night traveling south to Phoenix to take on the Suns at 10 p.m. MT.
- Fast Start Doesn’t Last in Loss to Portland in Preseason Opener (Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 4, 2016)
- Jazz stumble to Trail Blazers in season opener despite impressive start (Deseret News, Oct. 4, 2016)
- Portland Trail Blazers 98 Utah Jazz 89 Quick Recap – Jazz squander away great start (SLC Dunk, Oct. 4, 2016)