Break up the Utah Jazz.
The Utah Jazz have now won six straight games with five of them being over playoff teams. Utah’s 133-109 win is their fourth straight game with 120 points or more. The last time Utah accomplished this was back in November of 1984. Yes, the same year Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh. The same year as the Los Angeles Olympics. The Karate Kid had come out that year. It’s been a long time.
The MVP of tonight’s game goes to Rodney Hood. Rodney Hood had 30 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in 30 minutes off the bench. He filled the void left by recovering from the flu Donovan Mitchell admirably. Rodney Hood started the game out with a PUJIT for 3 and nailed it. From there on out he was on fire, he scored his 30 points on an insanely efficient 12 of 14 from the field. This is the type of game that makes the Utah Jazz front office waver in its decision to find a new home for Rodney Hood.
It seems that every Jazz player associated with a trade rumor has kicked their play into overdrive. Even though the Utah Jazz missed out on Nikola Mirotic, Derrick Favors did his best Niko impression while playing against Mirotic. Favors once again had an amazing night finishing with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist. He was 2 of 2 from three! He had a game high +/- of +33.
Utah’s other once rumored player on the trade block, Rubio had 20 points, 11 assists, and 3 rebounds. Rubio since the middle of January has looked like a completely different player. He seems to know where his teammates are going to be, the turnovers have been cut down (he only had 2 turnovers to 11 assists tonight), and he’s playing with pace. Utah’s sped up pace has opened up their offense and has turned Utah into another team.
It’s crazy that with all these performances we haven’t even got to Rudy yet. He finished with 19 points as well with 10 rebounds and a block. His presence was felt all night long. He struggled a bit with foul trouble as he got the wrong end of some star calls in Anthony Davis’ favor.
One thing that should be pointed out is when Rudy got called with his 4th foul in the third quarter, Ekpe Udoh answered the bell and shut Davis down. The Pelicans had been making a run and cut the Jazz’s lead to single digits. It was starting to look like Utah might run out of steam. Anthony Davis was getting what he wanted inside and the referees were working in his favor. Then Udoh introduced him to #EkpesBlockClub. Udoh’s line of 2 points and 6 rebounds might look pedestrian, but he also racked up 3 blocks in only 9 minutes. The trio of Udoh, Favors, and Gobert held Davis to only 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. Davis also had 5 turnovers. The last time the Pelicans and the Jazz met, Utah was down to only Favors and Ekpe against DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. This time, Anthony Davis felt the pain of being outnumbered by big men.
If you look at Rajon Rondo’s stat line, it’s not a typo. The non-shooting guard actually went 4 of 6 from three. If you had told most NBA fans that Rajon Rondo and Ricky Rubio would have a shootout in an NBA game from midrange and three and it didn’t end in a dumpster fire, I’m not sure anyone would have believed you. Yet here we are. The other guard in New Orlean’s lineup, Jrue Holiday put up 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. It’s crazy that he put up so many points because that’s the quietest 28 points I’ve ever seen. Never once in the game did I see Holiday scoring and think, “This is going to be a problem.” Probably because Jrue Holiday was a team worst +/- of -21 when he was on the floor in a game where New Orleans was outscored by 24.
At the end of the day, this was Rodney Hood’s night. He’s been benched this season, battle injuries, and now hears his name on the daily in trade rumors. With all of that noise, you could excuse the 4th year wingman if he were to be checked out from games until a trade was made or the deadline passed. Instead, he put on a shooting display that was amazing. He even drove to the hoop and had a monster slam. It was a brilliant game from Rodney Hood all around.
The Utah Jazz now have one day off before they play the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis on Wednesday at 6:00PM MT. The Memphis Grizzlies are 18-34 and will be playing the backend of a back to back when the Jazz roll into town. Hopefully the combination of the Grizzlies being fatigued by playing their second game in two nights and Donovan Mitchell being fully recovered from the flu will lead to the Jazz’s seventh straight victory. The last time the Utah Jazz had a 7 game winning streak was in January of 2016.
This was the first time Utah played Nikola Mirotic since he was traded from the Chicago Bulls. The Jazz had been linked to Mirotic in trade rumors before he was traded to New Orleans.
Nikola Mirotic finished with 5 points on 2 for 8 shooting while going 0 for 4 from three. Did the Jazz dodge a bullet?
Donovan Mitchell looked like he was still recovering from flu like symptoms. The last time Donovan Mitchell scored 2 or less points in a game was clear back in October. We’ve been spoiled, y’all.
Emeka Okafor is back in the NBA. While he only played 8 minutes, it’s great to see an NBA player who fell out of favor of the NBA play his way back in. Welcome back, Emeka.
Raul Neto continues his great play from the bench. He had 8 points in 12 minutes with a +/- of +13. HOWLS SEDUCTIVELY
Joe Ingles was four of five from three and finished with 18 points. He’s the third best three point shooter in the league and he’s not in the three point shooting contest. I didn’t want to say this out loud, but I think the league has a problem with vegemite. There, I said it.