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Bad shooting night from three costs the Jazz against the Blazers

My kingdom for a three!

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz lost a close one to the Portland Trail Blazers 109-104. It was a hard fought game that saw multiple technicals throughout.

Jusuj Nurkic was huge for the Blazers scoring 22 points with 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 blocks. He did a lot to negate some of the pick and roll actions the Jazz run and gummed up the middle. Rudy Gobert had a solid night but wasn’t able to dominate the frustrating Bosnian.

This was the difference in the game. With the Jazz struggling to get what they wanted in pick and rolls, and in the paint, they needed a good game from three.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

How did the Jazz’s best shooters do? Joe Ingles was 0/3 from three and Kyle Korver was 0/5. When your best three point shooters both have an off night shooting in a close game, it’s tough to win.

No one outside of Ingles and Korver had a particularly great night from three, either. As a team the Jazz shot 21.2 percent from three.

But there were some positive things to take from the loss.

Donovan Mitchell looked strong as the lead ball handler again. This time against a top 4 team in the Western Conference.

He can get to the rim with blinding speed, but he’s also showing times where he’s patient and maneuvers his way to get to his spots. He’s also creating lobs to Rudy Gobert which forces the defense to adjust. It’s not hard to see this becoming a staple for the Jazz for years to come.

Mitchell had 1 or 2 plays where he either got caught in the air without a pass or missed a read, but he ended the game with only 4 turnovers. Obviously you’d like to see that number go down, but most stars in the league will have between 2-4 turnovers a game because they shoulder so much of the offensive workload.

Another note of interest was Ricky Rubio coming off the bench. The Jazz said this was because of a minutes restriction and coming off the bench does make it easier to handle his minutes.

Part of that though has to be a credit to Royce O’neale who had another solid outing for the Jazz. O’neale shot 12 from three (SHOOT IT MORE ROYCE) and played fantastic defense, especially in the first half where he created multiple transition opportunities and stops with deflections and shut down defense. Seeing Royce figure things out has been a welcome sight and was no small part of the Jazz’s 6-game win streak coming into this game.

Ricky Rubio played like Ricky Rubio. He played hard, hit some shots, had some assists but also had 4 turnovers in 13 minutes. It’s clear he was trying to make an impact but sometimes he’ll make a pass that leaves you scratching your head. I’d say overall he played pretty well with what was most likely some rust.

We’ll see if Rubio continues to come off the bench and if he can be productive in that role. Dante Exum will be making his return sometime soon and it will be even more interesting to see how Quin Snyder handles rotations now that Donovan Mitchell is asserting himself as the obvious choice as the lead dog on offense.