A 'little ugly' but fun: Observations from the Jazz's summer league win over Memphis


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SALT LAKE CITY — Sean Sheldon turned and yelled in frustration.

The Jazz summer league coach had just signaled for a timeout to rescue a possession after seeing Darius Bazley fighting for the ball. He wished he had waited just a beat longer. Almost immediately after he called for the timeout, the ball found Isaiah Collier streaking ahead on a fast break that would have won the game.

But all's well that ends well, right?

Keyonte George drew a foul following the timeout and hit two freebies, giving the Jazz a 97-95 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies in the first game of the Salt Lake City Summer League. Once the game went to overtime, the game went to an Elam ending, or a target score. The first team to score 7 more points in the extra session won.

"I'm very glad Keyonte made those free throws, but it would have been a lot of fun to finish the game with an Isaiah fast break, but it is what it is," Sheldon said.

Keyonte George's 30-point night

Sheldon was right: A fast break dunk would have been a much more exhilarating way to end the game than the semi-anticlimactic free throws by George, but those freebies also felt appropriate.

George was 17 of 19 from the free-throw line, helping him to 30 points. That masked a 5-of-21 shooting night.

"I think the best players in the league get to the line," George said.

On one hand, it could be considered a positive from his game on Monday — he got inside, drew contact, and got to the line. On the other, it wasn't anything we haven't seen before from the second-year guard.

In April, Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said he wasn't sure if George was a true lead guard in the NBA. Nights like Monday was why there are some doubts. He hunted shots, over dribbled and struggled to run the team — especially early in the game.

If George's future is an off-ball guard scorer, Monday's performance was fine — good even. If it's at point guard, there was probably some disappointment. But it's also just one summer league game; it's best to not draw conclusions.

"It was a little ugly, but they fought, they competed — like, that's what we care about," Sheldon said. "We can clean it up; it's Game 1, so I'm just glad that they stuck with it and kept playing right to the end."

Isaiah Collier impresses

Sheldon takes the blame for taking away Collier's highlight moment, but the former USC guard still had quite the debut.

Collier came off the bench to score 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, and added six assists and six rebounds. He played 29 minutes, including the final 3:15 of regulation and all of overtime.

He scored 11 of his 14 points after halftime.

"I think his speed is one we can definitely use," Sheldon said. "He's got a great feel to the split games with him up top."

In the second half, Collier was used as the main ball handler for large chunks of time, with George moving to a more off-ball role. Is that a potential paring for the future?

"I feel like it just depends on the player at the time," Collier said. "Key might make a different play than what I make. I'm just glad we're just learning from each other and getting better every day."

Zach Edey dust-up

There was some extra juice for a summer league game Monday. The crowd was engaged, vocal, and even restless when the Jazz — who came in with a stacked roster — fell down by double digits early.

One of the reasons for a more energetic atmosphere? Zach Edey.

The two-time NCAA Player of the Year was making his quasi-NBA debut with the Grizzlies. Edey received a clamoring of boos when he was introduced; and when he got into a small shoving match with Brice Sensabaugh that eventually led to technical fouls for George and Edey, the crowd really picked up.

Though, it was mostly much ado about nothing.

"I don't really know what happened. He was just standing up for his guy and Key and (Bazley) coming in for me," Sensabaugh said. "I don't think it was really anything serious, but (you've) just got to stand your ground sometimes."

Added George: "I kind of wanted to show him a little bit, like, he ain't gonna really bump him out the way like that, especially not in Salt Lake. We're not going for that."

Sheldon's decisions

Edey had the most memorable play of the night when he tipped in an intentionally missed free throw to tie the game and send it to overtime. That circumstance was set up by Sheldon's decision to foul being up 3 in the waning seconds.

"I would have been hitting myself over the head if he would have made that 3," Sheldon said. "Maybe I shouldn't have done it knowing Zach Edey was in."

He also got one right, though.

Walker Kessler was called for a foul on a block on Edey in overtime that would have sent the former Purdue center to the line. Sheldon looked to his bench and they said it was a foul, but he decided to roll the dice anyway.

Sheldon won the challenge — likely keeping 2 critical points off the board.

"Yeah, just kind of let it rip," he said. "I mean, the bench said it was a foul but that's OK."

He said if it had been a foul, he would have owned the decision. That caused him to think back to the ill-timed timeout that could have cost the Jazz the game.

"I'm just thinking how it would have been a lot of fun for Isaiah to finish with a dunk," he said.

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