SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Alec Burks is just happy to be healthy after missing 146 games the last three seasons due to ankle, knee, leg and shoulder issues. He’s finally feeling like the versatile, athletic wing that the Utah Jazz were excited to sign to a multiyear extension in 2014.
Burks scored 16 points and the Jazz cruised to a 117-78 preseason victory over Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday night.
The Israeli team was the second international opponent the Jazz began the preseason against after beating the Sydney Kings 108-83 on Monday.
“Game experience is all I needed,” Burks said. “I’m healthy, feeling good. Trying to catch a rhythm. I’m just glad to be out there and not on the sideline hurt.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder went deep into the roster and used the night to experiment with different lineups. The score was lopsided, but the Jazz are still searching for an offensive identity after the losses of Gordon Hayward and George Hill.
“You always talk about it being about you and your performance and your standards,” Snyder said. “So there’s a number of things we didn’t (do). … A lot of little things you can use to teach and get better.”
Burks had a strong effort for the second consecutive game, knocking down 3 of 3 3-pointers and adding eight rebounds. Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles finished with 12 points apiece in limited playing time.
Ricky Rubio handed out five assists in his second game with Utah, but shot 0 for 4 from the floor and had six turnovers. Dante Exum showed good decision-making with nine points and six assists.
Brandon Bowman led Maccabi with 28 points and former Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith added 18 points and six rebounds.
“Could have shot a little better from the floor,” Smith said about his performance, “but after not playing since last February, being able to knock the rust off felt good and getting out there and playing against some high-level talent.”
Maccabi Haifa: Smith, who spent his NBA career as a 6-foot-9 tweener between small forward and power forward, started at center. … Haifa forced 21 turnovers and had 18 of its own.
Jazz: Utah rested Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson. … Donovan Mitchell (right hamstring tightness) and Raul Neto (left quadriceps tightness) were both out with an injury. … Gobert, Derrick Favors and Rubio did not play in the second half.
Snyder said the team has practiced hard recently and he wanted to give Hood and Johnson some time off, which also allowed him to play with different lineups. The Jazz have been diligent with injury prevention, starting in August, after two consecutive seasons of injury issues throughout the roster.
HAIFA: Maccabi continues its NBA exhibition tour against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
JAZZ: The Jazz host the Phoenix Suns on Friday in their first preseason game against an NBA team.