It’s been a long 24+ hours for Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz. The emotions were obviously high after Gobert was snubbed (again) from being named an NBA All-Star, and everyone was anxious to see how the reigning DPOY would respond to the lack of respect in an actual basketball game. Narrator: He did not disappoint.
The Atlanta Hawks showed up tonight to play basketball, and made things interesting right out of the gates. They exchanged blows early with the Jazz in a barn-burner of a first quarter that the Jazz led 36-34 at the close. Gobert committed two fouls in the first quarter which sent him to the bench and allowed Atlanta to gain some confidence. The Hawks got up 11 points on the Jazz during the second quarter and things started to look a little worrisome. The Jazz were missing shots and didn’t seem to have that edge of focus they have shown during their recent winning streaks. Georges Niang came in and hit two huge back-to-back threes that seemed to give the Jazz a bit of momentum. The Jazz would finish the half on a little run capped off by a Crowder three to close the gap to 2 at the half.
The second half was a different story.
Rudy Gobert made his impact felt in every way in the second half of this game and led to the eventual 16-point victory over the Hawks. Gobert finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks in a night that he didn’t miss a single shot from the floor. Gobert went 11-15 from the free-throw line and proved some of his haters wrong with some great offensive plays in a win at home.
Behind Gobert and Co. the Jazz built a double-digit lead that they didn’t look back on, finishing the Hawks 128-112 in Salt Lake City.
The Rudy Gobert Revenge Tour didn’t disappoint in game 1 post-snub, and there should be plenty more to come.
Ricky Rubio also played a crucial role in tonight’s victory with 22 points and 11 assists. Joe Ingles had his best shooting game in a while, with 19 points and 3-6 from three.
Donovan Mitchell had his most human game in the last month or so, finishing with 15 points on 7-18 shooting, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. But Mitchell did come through in the clutch during the post-game interview with Rudy Gobert.
Did wee see the last of Ricky Rubio in a Jazz uniform? With each passing day it becomes a greater reality that Rubio might be dealt prior to next week’s trade deadline. He’s been included in talks with the Grizzlies and Mike Conley for several days. I really don’t want to see Ricky go. He’s fit in so well in Utah as a player and person. If you’re a Ricky Rubio fan, relish each moment you get with him, because it could be your last.
The Hawks are fun. Trae Young is a really fun player to watch. His three-balls look like they are going to hit the jumbotron and he has a fun little style to his game. Huerter’s jumpshot is smooth like butter. John Collins is a beast and had some tough finishes over Gobert. It’s fun to see these young teams with some bright up-and-coming players.
Still can’t believe Rudy got snubbed. When you watch Rudy Gobert play basketball, you can see how much he impacts the game. It’s literally right in front of your eyes. I don’t understand how the coaches missed this one. But if it took this for Rudy to elevate his game even more, then so be it. Good luck to the rest of the NBA, though.