He’s really embraced who he is and on this team the guys are understanding who he is and that he has a role. —Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin
SALT LAKE CITY — It lasted a mere three minutes and 33 seconds. But during that short span in the middle of the second quarter of the Jazz's 100-86 win over the Bucks, EnergySolutions Arena fans caught a glimpse of what the future might be with Enes Kanter manning the middle for the Jazz.
In that brief three-and-a-half minute flash, Kanter did it all for the Jazz. He scored 11 points, making all five field goals tries, added a free throw and grabbed three rebounds — all offensive boards. Oh and for good measure, he also blocked a shot by Beno Udrih.
During Kanter's superb spurt, the Jazz went from facing a five-point deficit to holding a four-point lead, having outscored the Bucks 13-4.
When Kanter was replaced by Al Jefferson a couple of minutes later, many fans were not happy, some yelling loudly for coach Tyrone Corbin to keep the slow-starting Jefferson on the bench. Still the Jazz faithful gave the big Turk a well-deserved standing ovation.
Following Kanter's explosion, the Jazz never trailed in a game they looked lost and lifeless early when they fell behind by 12 points.
“I thought he did a great job from the time he stepped on the floor, playing smart and big inside,’’ said Corbin. “He made some great moves on the offensive end and got some offensive boards and second opportunities.’’
Kanter entered the game late in the first quarter and quickly scored inside off an offensive rebound. It was 29-24 for Milwaukee when he began his blitz in the second quarter.
First he scored inside off another offensive rebound and followed with a 5-footer off a pass from Alec Burks.
Then Kanter scored on still another offensive rebound and followed with a running skyhook shot in the lane. Finally he grabbed a rebound off a long miss by Paul Millsap and put it back, while getting fouled. The free throw was his 11th point in 3:33 and gave the Jazz a 37-33 lead.
“He went after offensive rebounds. He was down low early. He was doing a good job of knowing his position in the offense whether the shot was coming on the strong side or the weak side,’’ said Corbin. “He knows how to position himself to be big inside and to get an offensive rebound.’’
Afterward, Kanter simply shrugged off his strong play, saying, “I just tried to do my job. The coach gave me the opportunity and I just played. I was just trying to help my team and trying to win the game.’’1 comment on this story
For the night, Kanter scored 17 points — one off his season high — and tied his season high with nine rebounds, while getting a career-best five blocked shots.
Four nights earlier in Portland, Kanter had a dreadful night, going 0 for 7 from the field in a loss to the Blazers. But Corbin said he never lost confidence in his big man.
“He’s really embraced who he is and on this team the guys are understanding who he is and that he has a role,’’ he said. “He’ll continue to work and continue to grow.’’