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Utah Jazz: Kanter shows nerves battling more comfortable Favors

Published: Saturday, Dec. 17 2011 11:22 p.m. MST

Fans cheer during the Jazz open exhibition game at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The two most recent No. 3 picks in the NBA Draft squared off Saturday night and basically played to a draw in the Utah Jazz intrasquad scrimmage at the EnergySolutions Arena.

Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, the two Jazz big men of the future, played on opposite teams in the 20-minute scrimmage and came away with nearly identical numbers.

Both players shot 2 for 6 from the field, and each had a pair of turnovers. Favors had four rebounds, two more than Kanter, while the rookie from Turkey had two more points, thanks to a pair of free throws.

Favors, who joined the Jazz late last season after being the No. 3 pick of the New Jersey Nets, looked a lot more comfortable on the floor than Kanter, whose nerves showed right from the start.

The first time Kanter got the ball on the first possession of the game for the White team, he was called for traveling. The next time down, he tried a little 10-footer in the lane that hit nothing but air.

Later he had a shot blocked by Favors and threw up the wildest shot of the night when, with the shot clock running down, fired up a 3-pointer that bounced off the top of the backboard — that's backboard, not rim.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Kanter has looked much better at the Zion's Basketball Center in front of coaches and fellow players than he was in front of 10,000 fans.

"He's young and thinking a lot and excited to get on the floor," Corbin said. "He pressed a little bit and made some mistakes. But he's working hard and trying. There's so much coming in so fast that he's a young kid where a summer league and a long training camp would have benefited him."

Kanter admitted he was nervous in his first real appearance in front of Salt Lake fans, noting that he got injured in the first couple of minutes of last month's charity game at Salt Lake Community College and didn't get to play.

"That was my first time in Salt Lake City and I was just a little bit nervous and really excited," Kanter said. "It was fun to get out there in a competitive game — the fans were really great. My game's still (not there) because I couldn't play for two years. So I need to play more so I can get much better."

As for Favors, Corbin was much more positive, saying he did a lot of things that didn't show up on the stat sheet.

"Oh I thought he was good," Corbin said. "He played big out there. He made a few mistakes defensively, but when he made them, he looked over and I thought he understood and didn't make them twice. So I thought that was encouraging.

"I thought he played big inside. He did a good job of getting in on Kanter, was physical inside, did a decent job of going after rebounds and set some good screens."

Kanter and Favors will get to play on the same side from here on out beginning Monday night in Portland.

Email: sor@desnews.com

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