Utah Jazz basketball is back, baby.
What a way to start off the season last night. It wasn’t pretty at some points of the game, but the Jazz battled one out and came home with a W in the season opener.
Finally, after playing a real game of basketball that actually counted last night, what did we learn? What things did you see during the game that caught your eye? Here’s some of the things that I felt while watching the Jazz win over the Thunder last night:
Donovan Mitchell looks ready for the jump (literally)
I mentioned this before, just last week in my downbeat about Donovan Mitchell after watching him in the preseason. He looks like he flipped the switch. Last night confirmed everything that I had already been thinking. After a first quarter where he didn’t attempt a field goal, he took the game over as we’re pretty much used to seeing him do. But something was a little different. Mitchell seemed much more composed and controlled as he was taking the game over. He seemed to know exactly where he wanted to get to on all of his shots. He wasn’t rushing anything. I started getting a little impatient during the first quarter like “Donovan, c’mon bro shoot the ball!” but he wasn’t giving off those vibes at all. He knew his time would come, and it absolutely did.
Mitchell got the crowd on their feet with a crazy two-handed tomahawk jam in the final minutes of the first half, and you can add that to his already-impressive highlight reel.
Mitchell capped off his night by taking the game over in the fourth quarter. He scored 14 of his 32 in the final quarter, including 10 of the Jazz’s final 15 points. He scored or assisted on every field goal the Jazz made under four minutes. The Spida Takeover last night was the real deal.
Mitchell’s faced a lot of high expectations in such a short career. He’s been tied to the legendary Dwyane Wade with his style of play and athletic ability. Many expect Mitchell to make the jump this season to an elite level, and after one game, he looks like he’s on the right path.
Bojan Bogdanovic is a warrior
In the opening quarter last night, our worst nightmares almost came true. Bojan Bogdanovic rolled his left ankle, and went down writhing in pain. He tried to get up, and went right back down on the floor. He had to be helped off the floor and went immediately to the locker room.
While this was happening, I feared the worst. It’s so unfair when these guys ever get hurt, let alone in the opening game on a new team, in front of new fans, and everything. It seemed like it was a pretty bad sprain, at least from the video and Bojan’s reaction. The report came back that he was “questionable” to return to the game, which was a relief. Ironically enough, just as Kristen Kenney was reporting this news as the second half was starting, Bojan was seen coming onto the floor with the rest of the starers. The broadcast crew seemed a little shocked that he was already out there. That sound you heard was a GIANT sigh of relief from everyone in Jazz Nation. As soon as I saw Bojan hopping up and down and getting warmed up to hit the floor, I knew that we got an absolute warrior this summer.
Bogdanovic came up big with 9 points in the second half, including this huge three that gave the Jazz the lead in the fourth quarter.
This was my favorite play from the entire night. You can tell how much it mean to Bojan to hit that shot. Struggling in the preseason, getting banged up in the opening quarter, and fighting through it for this team. I already love this man. Can’t wait to see what else he can do for the Jazz.
Mike Conley’s just..the best
Mike Conley’s evening did not go as he might have hoped, to say the least. In his Utah Jazz debut, Conley had his worst performance of his entire 12 year career as a professional basketball player. He went 1-16 from the field, becoming just the second player in the NBA to do so in the last 5 seasons. He could have been really easy for him to get down on himself or pout about such a terrible game. But, as the Jazz were securing the win on opening night, he was all smiles.
This is just amazing. What a good sport. It can only go up from here, right Mike? (*smiles nervously*).
Rudy Gobert held Steven Adams to 3 points on 1-8 shooting
Royce O’Neale looked very solid and was a perfect 6-6 from the field
Emmanuel Mudiay looked like a very capable contributor as backup PG- 12 points, 5 assists, 0 turnovers
The crows loves Jeff Green