Don’t look now but the Utah Jazz on a roll. Against strong opponents, the Jazz have won three of their last four games. And if even one more shot falls for the Jazz against the Thunder, they’d be looking at a four-game win streak.
In their last four games, the Jazz have the 8th best offense and the #1 defense in the league (according to NBA.com), much improved since the last time they faced the Philadelphia 76ers. The Jazz have played so well recently that their overall defensive rating for the entire season has risen to 6th in the league!
Basically, the Jazz are looking like team we expected to see when the year began.
The scary thing is not everyone on the Jazz has hit their potential for this season. Donovan Mitchell, despite hitting a sophomore slump this season percentage-wise, is still averaging a line of 20.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists. What happens when those percentages eventually start rising?
The thought cures my Christmas heartburn.
Tonight would be as good a night as any for Mitchell to explode as it would give the Jazz their most impressive 5-game stretch of the year and complete a turnaround that likely saved their season.
When: 8:30 PM MST • Dec. 27, 2018
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain, ESPN
Radio: 1280AM/97.5 FM The Zone, ESPN Radio
Grayson Allen - Ankle - OUT
What to watch for
Will Donovan Mitchell have a breakout game from three?
In exactly half of the games Donovan Mitchell’s has played in this season he’s shot 30% or more from three. Mitchell has 7 games this season where he hasn’t hit a single three. In those 7 games he’s shot 0/24 from beyond the arc.
The positive sign is that in the last 15 games, Mitchell has had just two games where he’s missed all his threes. In those two games combined he shot only a total of 7 threes. When the three wasn’t falling he’s been going to the rim where he’s had the most success in his career.
Eventually, the threes will start falling and become a more consistent weapon for Mitchell. For now, his ability to penetrate and create for teammates is getting the job done.