Utah Jazz vs Sydney Kings
The National Basketball League of Australia is Australia's biggest and best league, but it is a far cry for the glitz and the glamor of the NBA. But on October the Sydney Kings of the NBL got to experience first hand what the NBA was all about as they traveled to Salt Lake City to take on the NBA's Utah Jazz.
The Kings have one of the NBL's better rosters complete with former NBA player Travis Leslie, Perry Ellis and Brad Newley. None of the Kings trio really had standout NBA careers. Of the three, Leslie has the best NBA pedigree having played a season for the LA Clippers, and was a one time member of the Utah Jazz. Leslie never played for the Jazz, but he was a member of the team along with Rudy Gobert.
The best two Australian players on the court did not even play for the Kings, they were Jazz guards Joe Ingels and Dante Exum.. Ingles a fan favorite who re-signed with the Jazz in the off-season started while former #5 overall picks Exum came off the bench for the Jazz.
The Kings were outmatched fairly early on in the game as the Jazz started off with a quick 7-0 run in the first few minutes of the game and the game never got close than that,
The Kings were able to widdle the Jazz lead down under double digits a couple times in the second quarter after the Jazz had built a 20 point lead and become really lackadaisical about the game.
It was clear from the get go that the Jazz felt that they were the better team and they did play like it, but at times they let the Kings hang around because of their lackluster defensive attitude at times.
To Quinn Snyder’s defense, anytime he felt a player was slacking off on defense he pulled them and replaced them with someone who would try harder.
The Jazz built up another 20 point lead in the second half behind Exum and rookie Donovan Mitchell, and the Jazz got the lead as high as 29 before eventually winning by 24 points; 108 to 84.
This game marked the first game that the Jazz have played in the post Gordon Hayward era and the question of who will pick up his scoring remains. Exum, Gobert and Rodney Hood all had nice offensive games but none appear to be able to be a consistent go to guy, and the betting odds for the NBA championship remain very low for the Jazz
Over the off-season the Vivient Smart Home Arena, formerly the Energy Solutions Arena, formerly the Delta Center, underwent a 2 billion dollar renovation. The arena looks great with wide light corridors and new seating which is much more comfortable they the previous seating.