At halftime of this third game amid a five-game road trip, things looked mighty bleak for the Utah Jazz (12-7). They sat on a 15-point deficit to the Memphis Grizzlies (5-13), 40-55. The offense still looked broken, no one could make a shot and the Jazz were staring at a 3-game losing streak and an 0-2 record against a Memphis team they shouldn’t have much problem with.
Instead, the Jazz flipped the script in a third quarter barrage that included a 24-4 run. Utah turned a 15-point deficit into a 5-point lead in 6 minutes of game time behind 7 points from Bojan Bogdanovic and 8 points from Donovan Mitchell in that span. BogDonovanic (I should trademark that) finished for a combined 53 points and the Jazz were able to close out the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Grizzlies 63-39 in the second half.
Rational reaction #1: Bojan Bogdanovic saved our bacon... Again
I know I sound like a broken record here, but what a MASSIVE signing this guy was. I’m going to keep saying it until he stops coming up huge. In his second straight game of 30+ points, Bogdanovic scored 33 and could not be stopped tonight.
Bogey keyed the second half domination that delivered this win, going 9-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3 in the third and fourth frames. He was consistent on a night when the rest of the Jazz offense was struggling.. again. Which brings us to our second point...
Rational reaction #2: The Jazz need to take better shots
Utah continues to fall in love with the wrong kinds of shots this season, and it remains a problem. When I looked at the roster before the season started, I had visions of ball movement, spacing, open lanes and catch-and-shoot 3s dancing in my head.
Instead I’ve been left with lumps of mid-range shot and pump fake hesitation into contested off-the-dribble 3 coal. It’s not even just one or two players; this is a team-wide problem, as Andy Larsen points out here.
Jazz appear to have a serious lack of understanding of what a good shot is. Like, if they have a 2-on-1 with both Donovan and Rudy headed to the rim, a bad shot is a Mitchell floater. Much better if he continues his dribble and gets a layup or gets a dropoff pass.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) November 30, 2019
Donovan gets quite a bit of the blame for this since the ball is so often in his hands, but the whole team needs to have better shot selection.
Overreaction #1: Everything is awful
We all saw a lot of this over the two-game skid, and it might be close to a rational reaction because things looked pretty bleak there for a while. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the good:
- Rudy Gobert is back! Thank goodness for that, because this was the first game in four that Utah held the opponent under 120 points.
- Dante Exum (albeit in limited minutes, as in 4 of them) looked really good tonight! 5 points, 2 rebounds and some stiff defense in four minutes is a good look. It might be time to get him a little more involved.
- The Jazz got a (hopefully more than) one game reprieve from the turnovers tonight, only committing 5.
On the other hand...
Overreaction #2: Utah is back on the right track
Look, they had one good half. And it was a good half. But this Grizzlies team isn’t one that we should need to catch fire for 24 minutes to beat. They secured a win in the midst of an incredibly difficult five-game road trip, but the road is going to get harder before it gets easier en route to the welcome confines of Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Next, Utah travels to Philadelphia to take on the 12-6 76ers Monday night and then immediately goes on to Toronto to face the 13-4 defending Champ Raptors. It’s nice to not go 0-for on this trip, but 1-4 is still very much a possibility if the Jazz don’t start playing better.
Under-reaction #1: This was the most aesthetically pleasing game of the season
Can we just take a second to honor the beauty of this throwback purple mountain majesty Utah Jazz and Vancouver-era Grizzlies matchup?
Jazz-Grizzlies uniform matchup is straight out of the 90's pic.twitter.com/3h0QFBV8yS— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 30, 2019
I mean, would you just look at it?