When they said Utah would have to fight their way back into the playoff race, the Jazz probably didn’t think they would literally have to fight their way back into the playoff race. The Utah Jazz demolished the chippy Phoenix Suns in Utah tonight. The Utah Jazz have now won eight straight games and reside firmly in the 7 spot in the Western Conference with their 116-88 win over the tanking Phoenix Suns.
With this win the Jazz are now only 1⁄2 game out of 6th in the Western Conference, 1 game out of 5th, and 1 1⁄2 games out of 4th. The Phoenix Suns, however, continue their tanking ways. It’s just habit at this point after 3 years.
After one quarter, it appeared Phoenix was going to show up and compete in this game. They were playing tough defense and Utah was playing it casual on their defensive end, BUT then Quin Snyder called a time out—presumably to remind them where the bodies were buried—and Utah got into playoff push mode again. From then on out it was full on blowout territory.
It seemed to finally get to Phoenix when they decided it was time to go full brawl. Marquese Chris airballed a dunk (LOLZ) and then Jared Dudley defended his teammate’s honor by inexplicably checking Rubio who had nothing to do with the prior play. Rubio got up quickly to get in Dudley’s face and then Marquese Chriss came and crosschecked Rubio who once again went tumbling to the ground.
Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, and Donovan Mitchell went rushing to the scene to defend their teammate with Mitchell and Ingles getting dangerously close to throwing some punches. Coaches cleared the bench and tried to stop their players, bodyguards rushed the floor, and referees were trying to gain control of the chaos. As if Utah needed any extra motivation to put this game away, Utah blitzed Phoenix the rest of the game and finished them off.
Speaking of Phoenix cheap shots ... Dante Exum returned from injury tonight as he scored 10 points, pulled down 3 rebounds, and dished 2 assists in only 14 minutes. Exum looked good for having missed the entire season. His touch around the rim is probably going to take some time to get back to preseason shape, but Exum’s presence is going to be HUGE for the bench.
Joe Ingles was the player of the game. He spent time with a child named Landon who last year Ingles bought special glasses for so he could see. Landon is blind, but with the help of these special glasses he’s able to watch the beauty that is Joe Ingles dominate from three point land and defend his teammates. Before the game, Ingles spent time with Landon and his family, and during the game he put on a show with 17 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Joe Ingles also pulled within two 3 pointers of the Utah Jazz three pointers made record.
Donovan Mitchell once again had a 20+ point night. This time he had 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. The crazy thing is this has become automatic. Just a sight to behold.
Rudy Gobert continues his domination through the league. While anchoring the league’s best defense (when he’s healthy, mind you), Gobert had 21 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Just a beast.
Jared Dudley is a chump.
Marquese Chriss is a chump.
Donovan Mitchell has at least one play a game in which you question whether he’s an immortal being.
Donovan Mitchell was feeling Jordanesque pic.twitter.com/IohYNNKkCT— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 16, 2018
The official gif of the rest of the Utah Jazz season.