If tonight’s game was any indication, the Utah Jazz found a gem in Grayson Allen. The Utah Jazz hosted and defeated the Perth Wildcats 130-72. The Utah Jazz were dominant to start out the game getting out to a big 31 point lead after the 1st quarter alone. While fans might have been eager to get a show in preseason from Donovan Mitchell, the real fireworks of the evening belonged to the Jazz’s bench mob that included of rookie Grayson Allen and perpetual biggest offseason addition Alec Burks.
The backcourt of irrational confidence combined for 37 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Alec Burks shot 66% from three while Grayson Allen shot 55% from three. Those two were electric from beyond the arc both hitting stepback threes and threes off the dribble and behind the screen.
Rudy Gobert was dominant in his short minutes, scoring 14 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. He could have had even more points but he shot only 2 of 8 from the charity stripe. Certainly some room for improvement.
For those looking at Ricky Rubio’s shooting improvement, it wasn’t there tonight. Rubio had 5 points on 2 of 7 shooting. Hopefully Rubio won’t need half a season to get going like the past two years.
The Perth Wildcats—while a good team in Australia’s NBL—were without two of their starters and integrating some new additions to their roster. While they looked shellshocked to be playing a team of Utah’s caliber for the 1st half, they came out in the second and played some tough minutes against Utah’s rotational bench players. Many Jazz fans can empathize with a squad missing two of their starters to injuries (hello, December of 2017).
Former Jazzman Bryce Cotton led the Perth Wildcats in scoring with 14 points on 4 of 16 shooting. Bryce Cotton unfortunately got the full attention of what could be the NBA’s best defense of 2018-2019.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah’s budding superstar, had 9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 21 minutes. Donovan took 10 shots, making 4 of them. While there are certainly trolls who will take hold that he was inefficient tonight, he was a +23 while on the court and, oh yeah, it’s preseason. The Utah Jazz are just getting things started.
Utah most certainly looked like a team that had been playing together for the better part of a year. Their chemistry is unmistakeable and they aren’t an alpha pecking order type team. If this was 2006, we’d say that play with Spurs like unselfishness. The open man got the basketball and no one’s ego got in the way of the best shot being taken.
After one game, we know very little of this team. Yes, Alec Burks and Grayson Allen had great games, but they were playing the bench players of an NBL team. They should light them up and go for 20 each. The real test will be seeing how this entire Jazz squad does against a more elite squad. The Utah Jazz will face off against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday; the difference between the Raptors and Wildcats is the difference between a Raptor and the feral cat. We will learn a lot more about this team after one quarter against Toronto than we did all of tonight.
The Utah Jazz will play the Toronto Raptors in Utah on Tuesday at 7:00PM. That game—thank the basketball gods—will be televised in more places than just Australia.