PORTLAND, Ore. — It's just the preseason. Exhibition games don't count. The slate will be wiped clean by the time the real stuff starts next week.
Despite its overall insignificance to the standings, a 110-90 pounding from Portland was not the kind of start the Utah Jazz envisioned or expected.
"Sometimes you fall into a trap of thinking it's the exhibition season, we've got time," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We don't have time to waste games. We can't waste minutes on the floor, so I was disappointed in that."
Utah's ineffective and uninspired effort — with plenty of wasted minutes on both ends of the floor — was a shock and a contrast to what the team has shown since camp began on Dec. 9.
"The message is we have to be more aggressive and be more ready once we get on the floor," Corbin said. "We've got to have a better effort than what we demonstrated. … We've had some great practices and we just didn't transfer it to the game floor tonight."
Perhaps the lone highlight for the Jazz?
When asked over the weekend about how a pinkie injury might affect his game, the second-year power forward insisted it wouldn't, saying, "I'm a man."
No one would dare argue with the manly 20-year-old on this night.
Playing alongside rookie Enes Kanter — along with fellow Junior Jazz members Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks — Favors scored 25 points and hauled in 12 rebounds, both game-highs.
"I got comfortable," Favors said. "All of the work that I've been putting in this summer, it's just finally paying off. I was just ready to get out there and play."
"He did a good job," Corbin said. "He was big inside."
Other than his bright play, it was an overall dreary showing for the Jazz, who put extra gloom in this Northwestern city.
They've installed a new defense and instilled a new commitment to making stops in camp, but Portland had its way with the Jazz. Led by former Utah guard Wesley Matthews' 17 points, the Blazers shot 55.8 percent while slicing and dicing the Jazz's D.
The aggression and rotations needed simply weren't there. Neither was the effort.
And it showed.
"I was not really impressed with the way we played defense. I didn't think we came out with a sense of urgency," Corbin said. "I know it's an exhibition game, but we talked about setting the precedent right from the beginning of the ballgame and we didn't come out with the same kind of energy we have been demonstrating the last week or so in practice."
Paul Millsap (right quad tendinitis) was unavailable, so Corbin went with an interesting starting lineup that included a frontcourt of Mehmet Okur and Al Jefferson along with C.J. Miles, Raja Bell and Devin Harris.
That group struggled early and often, falling behind 18-6 before Corbin turned to the bench. The five starters, who played without energy or a rhythm, combined to only score 11 points in the opening half. They weren't much better to open the second half.
Harris was the only starter — no guarantees they'll continue starting —=A0to reach double figures for the game with 10 points.
"We've got a lot to work on," Harris said. "They came out and they were the aggressor, kind of knocked us back on our heels."
Portland also forced Utah into 22 turnovers, and never really let the Jazz work their offense the way Corbin's crew claims it has clicked in offense. Jefferson and Okur, starting for the first time since April 2010 when he tore his Achilles tendon, only combined to score nine points and grab five boards.
No rest for the walloped. After flying back late Monday night, the Jazz have a practice this morning.
"I think it was a great measuring test for us, kind of put us in our place," Harris added. "We'll get back to work tomorrow and we'll see this team again on Wednesday."
Miles scored nine, Jefferson had seven points and only three rebounds, and Okur scored two points while putting up just one field-goal attempt.
The Jazz rookies showed glimpses of potential in their NBA debuts. Center Enes Kanter hauled in 10 rebounds with six points, and shooting guard Alec Burks chipped in with eight points and three assists.
Other than that, well, the Jazz can be thankful it's just the preseason.
Four days after signing with the Jazz, veteran small forward Josh Howard only saw five minutes of action. That short appearance was by design. Corbin said the Jazz don't want to risk getting Howard injured, adding that he still needs time to become familiar with plays and teammates, and vice-versa.
"We've to get to get a little more time on practice floor to make sure we feel comfortable with his conditioning," Corbin said. "He looks great."
This game offered little insight into the No. 3 point guard battle. Starter Devin Harris and his primary backup, Earl Watson, were the only playmakers to see action. Jamaal Tinsley, Keith McLeod and Scottie Reynolds didn't leave the bench.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company