ORLANDO, Fla. — Before Wednesday’s game, Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin almost sounded like he was reading from a "Star Wars" movie screen crawl when asked about Trey Burke’s rough outing at the Orlando Summer League.
“That’s a long, long time ago,” he said. “We forgot about that.”
Judging the way he played in the Jazz’s 86-82 victory at Amway Center, Burke’s game has seemingly left all memories of that poor performance in a galaxy far, far away, too.
The 6-1 point guard sparked Utah’s latest road win — the team’s third in a week — with the best game of his young career: 30 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
The only other players who’ve put those numbers up in the same game this season include LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Damian Lillard and Jamal Crawford.
And this from a young player who struggled massively in the summer, scoring just 35 points total and missing 18 of 19 3-pointers during that sluggish summer-league showing.
“Well,” Corbin said, “he was waiting to get back to Orlando, I guess.”
Jazz marketing can decide whether to dub this one, “The Return of the Trey Guy” or “The Burke Strikes Back.”
Whatever you call it, Burke’s performance was certainly out of this world.
Six months after he made Jazzland wonder what management was thinking, Burke hit 12 of 20 field goals, drilled half of his 3-pointers (4-8), was the catalyst to a fourth-quarter rally, and became the latest young Jazz player to take over a game.
“I thought he was really good tonight,” Corbin said. “Not just the fact that he scored, rebounded and assisted for us, but I thought defensively he did some good things.”
Even when Burke had some late miscues, his teammates were there to back him up on this night.
With the Jazz up 84-82, the rookie bobbled the ball out of bounds to give Orlando a chance to tie or go ahead with 54.2 seconds remaining.
With Burke defending him, Magic point guard Jameer Nelson then burst by the Jazz player and had what seemed like an open layup attempt that could’ve tied it with 3.3 seconds remaining. But Derrick Favors (14 points, 11 rebounds) closed in on Nelson and the 6-10 center forced the 6-foot Orlando guard to put extra arch on the layup, which didn’t drop in.
Gordon Hayward, who had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds, sealed Utah’s third road win in four outings by hitting two free throws with 1.6 seconds left.
“There are definitely moments when we show our potential and what we could be. It is exciting to see that,” Hayward said. “I thought Trey did a great job today, especially after the game both he and I had in Miami. It was a good bounce-back game for both of us.”
Especially for Burke, and in more ways than one.
It was quite the coincidence that Burke arrived in Orlando, where he had his shaky pro debut in July, just two days after his NBA-low three-point performance against the Heat.
“It’s like night and day,” Burke said in a jovial locker room after Utah improved to 7-21.
Not only was there that rebound-from-Monday angle to Wednesday’s game, but the Magic (8-18) gave Burke his first workout before the 2013 NBA draft. He even stayed in the same hotel with the Jazz as he had last spring. Instead of taking the 2013 NCAA player of the year, Orlando opted to select versatile shooting guard Victor Oladipo from Indiana with the No. 2 pick.
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