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Utah Jazz: Ingles knows how to get under an opponent's skin

Published April 18, 2017 12:23 am

Jazz • Aussie uses trash talk, physical play to his advantage on the court.
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Los Angeles • When they're away from the basketball court, Joe Ingles has often tried to persuade his buddy to make the trip Down Under.

On the court, Ingles and his former teammate, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, aren't so friendly though they do talk about, well, other things.

"He talks, but I know his tricks," Crawford says. "It's just a running conversation."

But at some point in what most expect to be a long and chippy playoff series between the Jazz and Clippers, you can bet Ingles is going to find just the right thing to say. Nobody in a Jazz uniform is better at needling his opponents on the court.

"Joe a a—," forward Derrick Favors said with a laugh (And, no, he did not say "Australian"). "He likes to talk a lot of trash, likes to get under people's skin."

Whether it's a choice comment or well-timed hip check, the affable Ingles has a knack for losing friends on the basketball court.

"It just kind of happens," Ingles said. "It's part of the game. We're not trying to fight, but it's chippy. It's always going to be chippy this time of year."

In the past two weeks, Ingles has found himself toe-to-toe with Minnesota's Omri Casspi and San Antonio's Pau Gasol, whom Ingles considers a friend. Off the court, anyway.

"I don't like anyone from any other team," Ingles said. "Even the Aussies. Once you get on the court, it is what it is."

So forget about the friendships Ingles formed with the Clippers during training camp in 2014.

"I don't go into games planning something," Ingles said. "But obviously you go out there and things just happen. Big guys cut down the lane and you give them a bump, or you grab guards coming off picks."

That's how Ingles became one of the Jazz's heroes in their 97-95 win in Game 1.

There were a few things the kid from Adelaide, South Australia, didn't enjoy about playing Aussie rules football. He didn't care much for the outdoors, with the rain and the mud. He preferred instead the luxuries of a heated gym.

But, comfortable as can be on a basketball court, Ingles would probably have made fans of his country's favorite game proud, as he bumped, thumped, grabbed and pulled the Utah Jazz toward victory.

"I thought he was probably the most physical guy in Game 1," L.A. point guard Chris Paul said.

And as the Jazz look to capture another victory at Staples Center come Tuesday night, the play of the hard-nosed Aussie with the big mouth will be key, as he chases Clippers guard J.J. Redick.

Before tipoff Sunday, Ingles' teammate and countryman Danté Exum had predicted a tough night ahead for the Clippers guard. Earlier in the week, Exum had pretended to be Redick for the Jazz's practices, running through screen after screen with Ingles in pursuit.

"He was grabbing, pulling. It was the worst thing," Exum said. "I feel bad for J.J."

Redick finished that night with just seven points on six shots, while committing four turnovers along the way.

"I thought he was a difference maker," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Ingles.

The guy they call Slo-Mo Joe figures to be a key to the Jazz's success for the rest of the series, as he chases the seemingly indefatigable Redick around the court — and Ingles' teammates like his chances.

"He knows kind of the fine line between what's going to be called a foul and what's not, and he gets right up to that line," Exum said. "He's always there. You might be faster than him, but he's going to stick with you and make sure he does whatever he can so you can't beat him."

Added shooting guard Rodney Hood, "That no-back-down mentality that he has is going to be big for us. He makes people work. He gets under their skin."


Twitter: @aaronfalk






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