The Utah Jazz now own the 4th longest winning streak of the 2017-2018 season with their win over the Phoenix Suns. ELEVEN straight victories for the Jazz as they head into the All-Star break. These last three games, Utah has struggled without Ricky Rubio, who, for most of the Jazz’s win streak, was their engine in most games.
But in tough times come unexpected heroes. Joe Ingles in Ricky Rubio’s absence has put up over 20 points a game and averaged 4+ assists a game. Tonight was no exception as he had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. When the Jazz’s offense needed a playmaker, Joe Ingles stepped up to the plate.
The Phoenix Suns actually showed up tonight against Utah as Devin—did you know he’s 21?—Booker had 28 points and Josh Jackson had 22. Utah’s lack of a primary point guard has really shown how much they need Ricky Rubio. Phoenix stuck around the entire game. Utah looked like they were ready to take a week off for the All-Star break and it appeared that players had their minds somewhere else. One only needs to look at the Jazz’s lackadaisical transition defense throughout the game to get an idea about how much the Jazz are missing Rubio and how they had one foot out the door for All-Star Break.
YET THEY STILL WON.
Any person still on the Dennis Lindsey is a terrible bandwagon probably has found themselves at the wrong destination as the Jazz’s list of unsung heroes continues to perform. Royce O’Neale once again had himself A GAME. Rolls Royce finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. This guy was an undrafted free agent. He’s definitely getting the Wesley Matthews award at the end of the season.
Like the sun rising in the morning, Donovan Mitchell had another 20+ point game finishing with 24 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and this game sealing ridiculous three to finally put the game away.
This was the trap game Utah needed to get through. The additional rest Rubio will be able to have by sitting out the last three games then having the next week off due to All-Star break is going to be so valuable for the rest of the season. Also ... in March we’ll probably be seeing the return of Dante Exum ...
Josh Jackson looked good tonight. Part of that was the Jazz’s lazy transition defense, but Jackson could be a really good player if he gets the right development. *Looks that he plays for Phoenix* Nevermind.
Did you know Devin Booker is only 21?
Derrick Favors has been beasting during the win streak. He’s in full CONTRACT YEAR mode and not looking back. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 blocks per 36 minutes during this win streak. He’s been a monster. Even better he and Rudy have looked formidable.
Donovan Mitchell now has scored 20+ points in 28 games in his rookie year. He trails the Golden Griff by 22 games. (Yes, Darrell Griffith was a beast.) To tie Darrell Griffith, Donovan Mitchell would have to score 20+ points in 22 of his 24 remaining games. It’s a long shot. But even so, Donovan Mitchell is doing this while helping carry the Jazz back into the playoff race.
Royce O’Neale at this point deserves to be on one of the All-Rookie teams at the end of the season. During the winning streak he’s averaging 12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 steals PER 36 minutes. Before the season started if Donovan averaged those numbers we would have been ecstatic. Now an undrafted free agent is doing it. Dennis Lindsey’s a wizard.
The Utah Jazz have a week off before they face off against the Trail Blazers on the 23rd at home. In the meantime, Donovan Mitchell will be in the Rising Stars challenge on Friday and the Dunk Contest on Saturday. It’s going to be a fun weekend.