Facebook Twitter

No Trey Lyles, no problem for Summer Jazz thanks to Tibor Pleiss, Joel Bolomboy

SHARE No Trey Lyles, no problem for Summer Jazz thanks to Tibor Pleiss, Joel Bolomboy

LAS VEGAS — Trey Lyles might start getting a complex if things continue like this.

“He should,” Jazz assistant Mike Wells jokingly said.

For the second time since they began their summer-league schedule a week and a half ago, the Utah Jazz opted to give their second-year pro the day off.

And for only the second time in seven games, the Jazz won.

Wednesday’s result — an 86-71 victory over the Blazers — catapulted the Jazz into the second round of the NBA Summer League tournament.

The Jazz will play Jimmer Fredette and his Denver Nuggets Thursday (6 p.m. MDT) at Cox Pavilion.

While Utah beat Portland a day after losing to the Blazers in a sudden-death overtime, Lyles sat across from the Jazz bench at the Thomas & Mack Center in a courtside seat.

Wells teasingly gestured at him following the victory, playfully kidding with Lyles about the coincidence that the team won again without the Las Vegas summer league's top scorer.

On a more serious note, Wells said teammates look to feed Lyles when he’s playing — as they should considering he’s averaging 29 points. Without Lyles, teammates pass and cut more.

“When there’s 30 points out of the lineup, we’ve got to make it up somewhere," Wells said. "These guys have a great opportunity to do that here.”

The same scenario will play out again Thursday as Lyles is expected to sit out again.

“They’ve got an even better opportunity against Denver,” Wells said. “I told them I don’t know if there’s a better situation for every one of these guys in our locker room to play Denver with as many regular roster players that they have.”

Once again, Lyles’ absence was Joel Bolomboy’s gain.

The former Weber State standout had another strong game filling in as a starter, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Bolomboy, who averaged 4.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in his previous six games, had 13 points and 11 boards as a starter in Utah’s 79-72 win over New Orleans on Sunday.

“That’s one thing about me,” Bolomboy said. “I’m always ready to play whether I’m coming off the bench or in the starting lineup.”

The bigger news for Utah was that center Tibor Pleiss made his 7-foot-3 presence felt for the first time.

Pleiss led the Jazz in scoring with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting with two 3-pointers, eight rebounds and one blocked shot.

The 25-year-old, who is the only player on the Summer Jazz with a guaranteed contract aside from Lyles, had been struggling. Part of his problem was due to spending a good portion of the offseason focusing on strength training at P3. Jazz management told him to not pick up a basketball while in Santa Barbara.

Pleiss said he gained about 10 pounds of muscle while focusing on fitness.

“It was tough in the beginning to come back, to run up and down,” Pleiss said. “But now I get used to it and I have a feeling that I get back into game shape.”

Wells cut Pleiss some slack for his previous games.

“He’s done a fantastic job at P3, working hard,” the Jazz assistant said. “He’s been really positive. He was not doing a lot of on-court stuff. He was working mainly on his body. Today he finally got into his rhythm a little bit.”

Former Utah State sharpshooter Spencer Butterfield continued his strong summer, scoring 11 points with two 3-pointers.

Bolomboy said he’s not about to tease Lyles that the Jazz are 2-0 when he starts and 0-5 when he doesn’t. He’s not that comfortable yet.

“Not yet,” Bolomboy said, smiling. “I’m not going to say anything to him about that. He’s a real cool person. As I get more comfortable, I’m starting to open up towards him a little more and we’re talking a little bit more. It’s good.”

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com