After taking a one game sabbatical from winning, the Utah Jazz are back to their winning ways. The Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas 119-112 to win their 12th game in a row on the road. With the win Utah guarantees itself at least a .500 season by winning their 41st game of the year. While that may have seemed like a pipe dream in January, Utah is looking at bigger and better things as they continue their upward climb into better seeding for the NBA Playoffs.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 26 points while adding 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals to his stat line. Donovan Mitchell continues to struggle from outside (1 of 6 from three), but tonight he looked like a man on a mission as he sliced up the defense at the rim. His euro step was at its best as he sliced and diced in the paint.
It wouldn’t be a game against Dallas without J.J. Barea having an abnormally great game against Utah. Barea scored 20 points in 17 minutes against Utah in just the first half. After the half, however, Quin Snyder had Utah ready for him. J.J. only scored 8 points for the remainder of the game finishing with 8 points.
Derrick Favors looked rested and ready in his return to the court. He was active on the boards, played some fantastic defense, and had an all around great game. He finished with 19 points (1 of 2 from three), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 rebound. Derrick Favors absence was the difference between a win and a loss against the Hawks last night, and it would have been the difference between a win and a loss tonight against Dallas. With every passing game I start feel more and more strongly about the necessity of re-signing Derrick Favors in the offseason.
Joe Ingles was back to being JINGLES! from long range tonight finishing 3 for 5 from three point land. Joe Ingles also again flirted with a triple double finishing with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists. If it was only his second year in the league he might be the frontrunner in the rookie of the year race.
This season is a giant game of what is real and what isn’t with Ricky Rubio. He’s beginning to have more games like this where he can score with ease and keep his teammates involved. Ricky was 4 of 8 from three (not a typo) and finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 (!!!!) steals. I want to see this Ricky in the playoffs. One troubling sign, though: Ricky has given up big scoring games to two point guards in a row. First against Dennis Schröder and now J.J. Barea. Maybe it’s the game plan, maybe it’s a bit of sleepwalking on defense and gambling too much. Whatever it is, that needs to be cleaned up before tomorrow night against the Spurs.
Utah’s has been shortened to 4 players: Dante Exum, Royce O’Neale, Jonas Jerebko, and Jae Crowder. Overall, Utah didn’t get a lot of rest for their starters on the first night of the back to back. Exum had some good defensive minutes off the bench but struggled offensively. Royce O’Neale finally hit a three, but the team struggled while he was on the court. The Jae Crowder defensive nightmare lineup looks less like first encounter Scary Terry and more like Scary Terry in middle school. Jonas Jerebko actually had some solid minutes, but Quin quickly went back to Favors and Gobert when he had the chance. Last year Utah had a very good bench unit. This year the depth isn’t quite there. The hope is Utah’s bench pulls it together before the playoffs.
Dwight Powell learned the hard way that Rudy Gobert is the Final Boss Fight when it comes to poster dunks. *sad trombone*
Kyle Collinsworth of BYU got 5 minutes of playing time and helped key a run that ALMOST got Dallas back into the game with two minutes left. Also this:
I played church ball and pick up games against an NBA player. That's a weird feeling.— Jay Ayyyy eSs Oh iN (@JasonForTheLove) March 23, 2018
The San Antonio Spurs await the Utah Jazz tomorrow night. The Spurs will continue to be without Kawhi Leonard under whatever circumstances it happens to be. Tomorrow’s game is a biggie.