HONOLULU — Will Hardy knew that Sunday’s game was not going to be his team’s most aesthetically pleasing performance.

“We anticipate there’s gonna be some ugly moments tonight,” the Utah Jazz head coach said. “There’s gonna be some sloppy play, there’s gonna be moments of us feeling disorganized on both ends of the floor at certain points.”

That’s what you get in an NBA preseason game when a team has only had four days of practice together — clunky basketball.

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Even so, the Jazz were able to pull out a 101-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, thanks in large part to the player on the Jazz roster whose future is the most uncertain.

Kris Dunn, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, got his first minutes in the second half of Sunday’s game and quickly had his fingerprints all over things.

While the first half often felt disjointed, Dunn was able to calm the Jazz, direct traffic, find open seams and land passes at the perfect moment.

“Kris, having sat for a while in the game came in and gave us a huge lift,” Hardy said. “He has a lot of experience, he’s a really good communicator, he understands situations in the game really well. I thought he did a good job.”

Dunn finished with 15 points, five assists, two steals and shot a perfect 7-of-7 in just 16 minutes of action. Though his contract situation is still not ironed out and his position on the team is uncertain, Dunn said he’s not distracted by any of that, instead relying on his agent, the Jazz front office and God to make sure all is in order.

“I just do my job,” Dunn said after the game. “I want to be a great teammate first…and then I’m out there to showcase what I’ve done over my career and what I’ve been working on in the offseason.”

Los Angeles Clippers’ Xavier Moon shoots between Utah Jazz’s Kris Dunn (11) and Simone Fontecchio (16) during the fourth quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Honolulu. | Marco Garcia, Associated Press

Throughout the game Hardy tried out different groups. He paired backcourt players together and mixed and matched in order to get some competitive minutes on tape so he could re-watch it with his staff and see what worked and didn’t work.

Talen Horton-Tucker and Collin Sexton started the game alongside Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler and John Collins. Later Keyonte George checked in to play in the backcourt with Ochai Agbaji and Jordan Clarkson, then in the second half George and Dunn played together.

All told, there were positive and negative aspects to each backcourt pairing, but it was clear that the most in sync was George and Dunn.

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George had a nice outing despite starting the night out with some obvious butterflies and beating himself up over every small mistake.

“I mean, he’s 19. He just needs to calm down,” Dunn said with a smile on his face. “He’s got a lot of emotions. It’s your first game and you’re against Kawhi (Leonard) and Paul George. I know he’s got a lot of emotions going on in his mind, and he wants to play well, as he should. He’s got a long journey ahead of him and I just try to tell him, ‘take your time.’ And when I’m out there with him, I just tried to make his job easier.”

The Jazz’s preseason continues on Tuesday with another game against the Clippers, this time in Seattle. Then the team returns home for a few days of practice before continuing the preseason schedule.

“As a staff, we’re obviously gonna look at film,” Hardy said. “We have a lot to clean up before we play the Clippers again. And then after that second preseason game, a couple days of practice to really sort of dig in and try to sort through that stuff. But it was a good first day.”

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