ORLANDO, Fla. — Jeff Hornacek, Wednesday’s coach de jour of the Utah Jazz summer league, tried to get Jeremy Evans to get a game face going during pre-game prep.
“Wipe that smile off your face,” Hornacek admonished. “You need to get serious.”
Evans kept smiling. Hornacek conceded.
“That’s Jeremy,” Hornacek said. “Always happy.”
With his new three-year, $5.5 million contract becoming officiall Wednesday, Evans was allowed to take to the court for the Jazz’s 79-75 over the Orlando Magic. By the end of the game, Evans wasn’t the only one smiling.
Alec Burks continued his campaign to be the No. 2 guard starter with 15 points, the second day he’s led the team in scoring. Enes Kanter had his best showing of the week with a 12-12 double-double that was as fundamentally sound as the stat line indicates.
Second-round pick Kevin Murphy had his first double-figure game (10 points) and was stronger on the defensive side with five boards.
Hornacek inserted Evans into the starting lineup, and the “fun” as Evans called it, started immediately.
Two putback dunks in the first quarter. A backdoor alley-oop. Another putback over Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn that would have been Sportscenter worthy if Evans hadn’t been fouled.
Thirteen points and nine boards, most of it off opportunities.
“That’s Jeremy,” Hornacek said. “You don’t have to run any plays for him. He’s out there active playing above the rim and keeping the ball in play.”
Evans, the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk champton, has been in Orlando since Saturday, but was limited to spectator status until the contract took effect.
“It just felt good finally being out there,” Evans said. “I’ve been ready to play. It was fun. I always have fun. I had a little too much energy at first, but I settled down and got under control. ”
Evans has worked on building his upper body strength.
I feel like I’m getting stronger,” Evans stated. “All the other guys still have 40-50 pounds on me.”
Utah meets Indiana at 1 p.m. today.
JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz have looked better each day after Monday’s opening loss to Detroit, and Hornacek expected that. “Our offense isn’t really complicated, but it’s SOMEWHAT complicated and the new guys have taken a few days to get comfortable”…
Earl Watson sat on the team bench during the game. … DeMarre Carroll sat out Wednesday’s game, but tweeted that he might play today. … John Millsap, older brother of Jazz star Paul Millsap hit a late jumper as the shot clock expired in the fourth.