Watching your team just take care of business against a bad team on the road was very satisfying this evening. This felt like a potential trap game, but the good guys came ready. It took a Herculean effort from D’Angelo Russell for the Warriors to take a small lead in the first quarter. But even after that the Jazz had a 4 point lead after 1.
The second quarter was honestly quite boring. It looked more like a varsity vs. JV scrimmage for most of it. With the varsity team knowing they are better and just going through the motions. The JV team looks better than they should at moments, and then they are reminded about their place. The Jazz finished the quarter with a 3 point barrage, scoring 17 points in the final 4 minutes to take a 15 point lead into the half.
Donovan and Rudy led the way with 33 points on 18 shots between the two of them.
The second half was much of the same, with both teams trading runs but the game never really getting all that close.
Is there anything more automatic than Donovan Mitchell in the midrange this season? I’ll be honest, I hated almost every midrange shot he took last season. I thought, come on Donovan that’s a bad shot! This year he is just killing teams in that area. I think it will force defenses to adapt, which will only open up more space for everyone else on the court when he gets inside the 3 point line. That kind of weapon would make him nearly impossible to guard.
Rudy Gobert is the best defensive player this planet has ever seen. To be honest, this really isn’t an overreaction. The Jazz defense wasn’t supposed to be this good still. They lost some good defensive players and replaced them with offensive-minded ones. And they are still this good? Thank you Rudy Gobert!
More on this in tomorrow’s downbeat.
Emmanuel Mudiay is an interesting guy to watch play basketball. I don’t feel like much of what he does is actually within Quin Snyder’s offense. That guy just puts his head down and either gets to the rim or puts up a midrange shot. And then it goes in. Every time I’m like woah what are you doing.... oh... ok that’ll work. Almost every time he touches the ball.
It will be interesting to monitor his minutes when Dante Exum is ready to make his debut and get on the court again. Has Mudiay proved enough that Exum has to earn those minutes back? Will Exum just get his minutes on the wing instead of at backup point guard? We’ll (hopefully) find out soon enough.