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Jazz defeat Nets 112-107 in final exhibition game

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Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Utah Jazz defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 112-107, Monday night in Brooklyn’s final scrimmage. The Nets, who didn’t have Jamal Crawford and Donta Hall for any of the three scrimmages, will enter the resumption of the season with a 1-2 record in exhibition play.

The Nets (re-) open play for real on Friday vs. the Magic. It will be the first of eight “seeding” games, a the NBA is calling them.

“I feel we got better as the games went on,” said Caris LeVert. “Obviously, Utah is a tough opponent., and we tried to play similar minutes to what we play in a game. I’m happy with our performance today even though we didn’t get the win. I felt like we played hard. We got better, especially on the defensive end and our principles and being in the right spots and things like that. I think shot-making will come. We haven’t shot well necessarily as a team yet, but I think when that comes, it will all come together for us.”

YES referred fans to FOX Sports Go if they wanted to watch the game live, but that didn’t work until late in the second quarter. YES did not cover, despite the Yankees having off, and there were regional issues with NBA TV. Thus, we didn’t get to watch much of the first half. So, for a second straight game, bear with us during this recap.

Brooklyn trailed for a majority of the night, but they caught fire in the third quarter after falling down by as many as 16. They answered with a 13-0 run, coming up with stop after stop, with a little extra sauce from Caris LeVert. The 16-point deficit turned into a 3-point deficit in the span of four minutes.

Then, the Nets trotted down the court in their home white jerseys, Chris Chiozza whipped a wonderful pass to a wide-open LeVert. LeVert missed a chippie, and Utah came back with a 14-5 run of their own. It was a 12-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.

The Nets came storming back once again behind their backup unit. Jeremiah Martin penetrated through the lane and hit a wide-open Dzanan Musa for a corner three, bringing it within two with less than two minutes remaining. Musa then had a chance to tie the game at the line, but missed both shots, which eventually led to a fast break bucket for the Jazz with 45.5 seconds left.

Rodions Kurucs came back and hit a fade-away jumper from the baseline, which cut the deficit down to two, but he exited the game grimacing in pain, seemingly troubled by his hip. Justin Wright-Foreman sealed it with an and-one on the following possession.

Brooklyn fought back, but they had put themselves in a hole early and they shot only 13-27 or 48.1 percent on free throws.

They went down 13 after a 32-point opening quarter from Utah. It stayed that way entering the second half, despite Caris LeVert (14 points) and Jarrett Allen (10 points) taking control for Brooklyn. Offense wasn’t an issue — rather it was the defense.

LeVert led all Nets scorers with 23 points and six assists, while Jarrett Allen finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, his third double in three scrimmages. LeVert praised his big man post-game. Allen shot 17-of-22 from the field over the three scrimmages.

“I loved the way he competed tonight against (Rudy) Gobert,” said LeVert. “Gobert’s one of the top bigs, one of the top rim protectors in the league, and I think JA’s up there as well. Once he comes into his own, I think he’s coming into his own every single game and I think games like tonight really show that.

“He’s just got to be consistent with it. He knows what we expect from him as a team and I think he expects the same thing from himself. I can’t wait for him to keep getting better and see what his ceiling is.”

Kurucs, a bright spot for Brooklyn this past week, finished with 13 points and six rebounds. In the three scrimmages, Kurucs shot 8-of-12 from deep while playing back-up center most of the time. Tyler Johnson had 11 points, and Chris Chiozza had seven assists for the second straight game.

The Nets came up with 13 steals (after ringing up 14 Saturday) and hit 36 percent of their three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough.

“We’ll clean up some things,” said head coach Jacque Vaughn. “We’ll continue to reinforce some of the concepts. I think it’s a great three days for us. We’ll start with a day off tomorrow, give guys a chance to see how they responded from the increased minutes. And then two laser-focused days of preparation. Two big games for us at the beginning of this segment, so can we focus and maybe implement a few things that those teams haven’t seen and give ourselves a chance.”

STATS

Caris LeVert finished the scrimmages averaging 20 points per game.

Rodions Kurucs shot 67 percent (8-of-12) from three

Jarrett Allen shot 77.3 percent (17-of-22) overall and had three double-double.

Tyler Johnson in two games shot 56 percent overall and 62.5 from deep and averaged 14 points off the bench.

COACHES FOR RACIAL JUSTICE

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn wore a button on his polo for a second straight game, one that says “COACHES FOR RACIAL JUSTICE”. Vaughn has been a big voice for the Nets in this area, reiterating that he has two young men he’s raising in this country, who he hopes to educate and keep safe in this country. As the resumption gets closer, I’d expect most coaches to do something similar to Jacque.

KYRIE

For a different perspective, head on over to SLC Dunk, our Jazz sister site on SB Nation.

Next up: The games begin! Nets face the Magic on Friday at 2:30pm ET.