Utah Jazz: Enes Kanter leads the youth movement in huge win over Bobcats
SALT LAKE CITY — Judging Friday's blowout, it's hard to determine whether the home team was so good despite being short-handed or if the visiting team was just so horrible despite being fully staffed.
Whatever the case, the 17,691 fans at EnergySolutions Arena didn't care nor did they stop enjoying every last second of the youth movement mania.
Final score: Future Jazz 98, Current Bobcats 68.
That 30-point blowout happened, by the way, even with starting big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap watching from the training room with sprained left ankles.
Score one losing-streak-snapping win for the bench guys.
"It's just great for all the guys," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after watching the understudies step into a starring role and shine for a night. "It's great for us."
On this night, the Jazz didn't need their usual key cogs as they won for the first time in four games and improved to 32-27.
Forty-eight hours after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared Wednesday to be Junior Jazz Day around the state, the NBA team's most junior players turned this evening into Career Night.
Center Enes Kanter, starting for Big Al, had a monstrous outing of 23 points and 22 rebounds, becoming the first Jazz player in more than three years to put together a 20-20 game in regulation.
"I wasn't expecting a 20-20 game," Kanter said.
Everybody in Jazzland will happily take it, though.
Joining in the act, backup forward DeMarre Carroll had a career-high 19 points despite playing with an injured left knee (bone bruise and patellar tendinitis) and seldom-used Jeremy Evans had his best-ever night with career-highs of 14 points and nine rebounds.
Young guns Gordon Hayward (14 points) and Alec Burks (10 points) also contributed as the Jazz bench totaled 57 points.
"It's just a tremendous feeling," Corbin said, "to see the guys get a chance to get more time on the floor and then have success in a game like tonight."
That historic 3-pointer by Foye set a franchise-record for most treys in a season (130) and gave the Jazz a 35-16 lead.
By that point, Kanter had already racked up his first double-double of his sophomore season with an early 10 points and 10 boards.
Kanter proceeded to play a career-high 44 minutes and 23 seconds. He hit 10 of 12 shots. The active 6-11 center also had 17 defensive rebounds (more than Charlotte) and five offensive boards (only one Bobcat had more overall rebounds for comparison's sake).
Corbin joked that he is going to get on Kanter for his five turnovers.
"He had a great game," the Jazz coach said. "He was big inside."
The Jazz spotted the Bobcats (13-45), losers of five straight, an early 2-0 lead.
But it was all Kanter and junior-level Jazz guys after that.
The Turkish center hit an 18-foot jumper to get things going and then made a couple of inside buckets to give Utah all the cushion it would need with an early 7-4 lead.
By the end of the first quarter, Kanter had eight points, which remarkably was only one less than Charlotte's total of nine.
The Bobcats only scored 24 points in the first half, shot 34.6 percent for the game and had just two guys in double figures.
"They killed us in every stat line," said Mullens, who had a team-high 12 points for the Michael Jordan-owned team. "Obviously, Kanter had a good game, stepped up in the starting position with Jefferson and Millsap out. They just had it from the start."
The win was a morale boost for the Jazz on multiple fronts. Not only did it snap them out of a weeklong funk, which included back-to-back home losses, but it also got them a bit of momentum heading into their upcoming four-game Eastern trip, which begins Monday in Milwaukee.
And they did it on a night that marked the first time the durable duo of Big Al and Millsap each missed the same game in their three years together in Utah.
"We just wanted to come out and breaking the losing streak. It was a big win," said Favors, who had a relatively quiet start with eight points and seven boards before fouling out. "Turk had a big game, so it was just going out there and having fun, basically."
And giving Jazz fans a glimpse of what the future might hold in store.
"Everybody stepped up," Favors said. "It was just fun out there."
NOTES: Because of the injuries, Corbin was forced to use his 11th different starting lineup of the season and the fourth different one in four consecutive games. Charlotte's nine-point quarter was the lowest for the Bobcats and a Jazz opponent this season. Utah was up 47-24 at halftime, giving the team its biggest lead after a first half and the lowest point total for an opponent. Ex-Jazzman Carlos Boozer had the team's last 20-20 game in regulation, totaling 21 points and 20 rebounds against Phoenix on Jan. 25, 2010. Jefferson had 28 points and 26 boards in a triple-overtime game vs. Dallas last April. Utah outrebounded Charlotte 62-24, a season-high night on the boards.
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