Jazz rookies impressive against 76ers, Cavs

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Eric Maynor admits he was nervous before his first career start Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"That first start I was like uh-oh," said Maynor at Monday's practice. "I'm nervous before every game I play."

He just didn't show it in the last two games. The Rookie point guard had 13 points and 11 assists in a 112-90 win over the 76ers. He followed that up by scoring 24 points in 40 minutes on the court and almost rallied the Jazz to a come-from-behind win over Cleveland on Saturday. His performance was so impressive he earned praise from LeBron James who spoke to Maynor after the game.

"He just told me I'm a good player, just keep working, and I've got a great coach," Eric said about his exchange with LeBron. "It's real crazy because just growing up and being at VCU everybody knew that my favorite player was LeBron."

Ironically, Maynor outscored his favorite player by 3 points on Saturday, a performance that has him feeling confident moving forward.

"My confidence is sky high right now," Eric said. "Just ready to see what goes on, you know, ready for whatever Coach Sloan tells me to do."

"He doesn't play like a rookie, he doesn't carry himself like a rookie." said Deron Williams, who was back in practice today after missing the last two games for personal reasons. "Hopefully now my minutes can get cut down because Coach trusts him a little more," Deron said tongue in cheek.

Deron was also impressed by the other Jazz rookie and for good reason. Wesley Matthews started the last two games and gave the Jazz a huge lift averaging 15 points in 36 minutes per game. He was also 6-of-7 from the three point line in his two starts.

"I thought both our rookies did a great job," Deron said. "They were very poised, I thought they stepped up when they had to and it showed the coaching staff a lot about them."

Matthews, who went undrafted back in June, joined Tom Kirkland on SportsBeat Sunday to talk about his impressive start to the season.

"A lot of it's happened fast and I can't say it wasn't expected or it wasn't planned for," Matthews said. "I'm very grateful that it's happened and you guys will get to know me that I'm never content with anything. It's been a pretty good start so far but I expect bigger and better things.

E-mail: jjensen@ksl.com

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