Rudy Gobert scored 4 points, had 7 rebounds, and threw out 2 assists.
And he manhandled the Blazers.
It wasn't just the 5 blocks either ... it's the way he disrupts everything opponents try to do offensively. It's the way he's there in the post, and the Blazers dribble in, then turn around and run away ... Exum-style (sorry, Dante). It's the way his attitude infects his teammates into tough, scrambling, scrappy, vicious defense.
This is AK-in-his-prime level of game-changing. And the dude's just 22.
And in the end, this is why Enes Kanter both hoped to be traded (it was never a demand) and the Jazz were willing to do so. Rudy Gobert changes everything.
Two plays showed exactly how much little things like nice passes make a difference:
- Rudy's 50-foot pass to Booker after Booker blocked LMA.
- Rudy's ridiculous bounce-pass in the lane to Hayward.
This is the stuff that is game-changing, team-changing, culture-changing, and potentially season-changing. Can a guy score only 4 points and be the best player on the court? Yes. A million times, yes.
For the rest of the team:
- Gordon Hayward had a very ho-hum 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He wasn't dominating or out of his mind tonight. Without Kanter's scoring, this is probably what ho-hum Hayward's contributions will be like.
- Derrick Favors had a decent, but hardly dominant 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block. Again, without Kanter's scoring, this is likely what a decent-but-not-dominating game from Favors will look like.
- Trey Burke scored 19 off the bench to go with 3 assists and a steal. Without Kanter, we're going to need Trey to have this kind of a scorer's mentality this year.
- Elijah Millsap erupted for 9 points off 3 three-pointers. He also gave the team 7 rebounds, an assist, and good defense.
- Rodney Hood played his first game in a month and hit a couple 3-pointers.
- Trevor Booker missed a lot of shots, got a lot of rebounds, made some spectacular plays defensively and yelled. He's not my favorite player for sundry reasons, but I get why his teammates and a lot of fans really love him.
On the Blazers' side, they couldn't do anything offensively.
- LaMarcus Aldridge shot only 5-16, for 14 points. Gobert, Favors, and even Booker just put him out of sync all night.
- Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews both played well. It's still kinda hard for me to deal with.
- Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman both spent most of the night looking at Gobert and wilting. I enjoyed that.
The Jazz play the Spurs next on Monday night. The Spurs haven't been spectacular this year, but they are still the freaking Spurs. It'll take this kind of effort again to win.
The good news, is that the Jazz have the kind of player who can get the entire team to do so. It's going to be a fun, wild ride to end the season.
Gobert is Zeus. Jazz win. Yucca out.