Through the first two days of the Utah Jazz Summer League, the host team has shown that even with the loss of All-Star forward Gordon Hayward in free agency, there’s plenty to be excited about.
Third-year point guard Dante Exum and 2017 first-round draft pick Donovan Mitchell were standouts in Jazz victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, electrifying crowds of more than 7,000 fans on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
Through the first two games of the summer league, which wrapped up Thursday with Utah’s game against the Boston Celtics that was not complete at press time, Exum is averaging 22 points, 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds and Mitchell is averaging 19 points, 4.5 assists and three steals.
Jazz 87, Spurs 74
Mitchell led the way with 23 points, five assists and three steals for the Jazz, leaving the court to a standing ovation at the end of Monday’s win.
Despite all that, he wasn’t totally satisfied with his debut, particularly on the defensive end.
“To be honest with you, I think I did terribly,” Mitchell said. “There were a bunch of times where I was getting hit on screens, not helping, not talking … I don’t think I said a word all game on defense, and that’s where I have to pick it up. I’ll watch film and figure out what my mistakes were.”
The Jazz never trailed in the game and led by as many as 17 points, with San Antonio shooting just 27-for-89 (30.3 percent) from the field.
“[Mitchell] did a great job,” Jazz summer league coach Alex Jensen said. “We emphasize defense, and he did a great job. He also did a great job making plays for others.”
Exum added 18 points, five assists and six rebounds in the win for the Jazz. Devondrick Walker had 12 points off the bench.
Rookie Tony Bradley had eight points and five rebounds. Second-year player Joel Bolomboy had four points and seven rebounds.
First-round draft pick Derrick White led the Spurs with 13 points off the bench. Bryn Forbes and Davis Bertans each had 12.
Jazz 100, 76ers 94
Exum led all scorers with 26 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, and Mitchell hit a clutch shot in the final seconds to help Utah stave off a furious Philadelphia comeback Wednesday night.
Exum was 9-for-16 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. The Jazz (2-0) were 11-for-22 from beyond the arc and 17-for-21 from the free-throw line in the win.
“I’m trying to learn a lot about where guys like to get the ball and I think that’s a part of my development, where I need to learn to put guys in good situations where they can make plays,” Exum said.
Nine Jazz players scored in the contest, with Mitchell scoring 15 points and dishing out four assists. Eric Griffin had 14 points off the bench and Bolomboy had 10 points and five rebounds.
Nigel Williams-Goss, who the Jazz picked in last month’s draft, had nine points in his summer-league debut.
Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, led Philadelphia (0-2) with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. Alex Poythress had 17 points and eight rebounds, Brandon Austin added 16 points and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 12 points.
Celtics 89, 76ers 88
No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum hit the go-ahead shot from 16 feet out with 5.7 seconds left, and Fultz missed a reverse layup at the buzzer as Boston edged Philadelphia.
Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who also got 13 points from Abdel Nader off the bench. Fultz led the Sixers with 17 points as part of a balanced effort, with Luwawu-Cabarrot contributing 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Aaron Harrison had 12 points, Poythress had 11 and Isaiah Miles and Larry Drew II had 10 each.
Spurs 81, Celtics 70
Forbes had 31 points, including a 6-for-8 effort from 3-point range, as San Antonio (1-1) rolled past Boston (1-1).
The Spurs led by 19 points after three quarters and the game never was in doubt despite Tatum’s 23-point, 10-rebound outing for the Celtics. Nader added 14 points for Boston, but Brown was limited to just six points and eight rebounds.
Bertans had 14 points and White added 10 for San Antonio, which was 13-for-28 from 3-point range. Second-year guard Dejounte Murray had a rough night, scoring five points on 0-for-10 shooting from the field.
San Antonio faced Philadelphia in its final game of the summer league Thursday, while Boston played Utah.