Like a 14 year old trying to earn more VC online in an NBA2K blowout, the Phoenix Suns started fouling even though they were down more than 30 points with one minute left in the game. Igor Kokoskov directed his team to try hard their way to another possession so Devin Booker could get another cool XBOX achievement of scoring 60 points. Quin Snyder was not having it. He directed his team to foul anyone but Devin Booker and double team him. Devin Booker would fall short of 59 points. The schadenfreude would eventually end as the Jazz beat the Suns 125-92.
If Booker did in fact ask back in, all hail the Jazz for the intentional fouling— moni (@monilogue) March 26, 2019
If that comedy act was the main event, Jimmer Fredette was the sideshow as he made his first return to Utah while in an NBA uniform as the Phoenix Suns had signed him to a 2 year contract a few days earlier. Jimmer missed his first six shots as Jimmer fans in the crowd encouraged him more than they would their own blood in a youth YMCA game. Ultimately, Jimmer would score 6 points while going 1 for 10 from the field—all in garbage time—to the delight and possibly snide cheering of the remaining fans in Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Gail: please respect our opponents when they come to our arena.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 26, 2019
*Jimmer comes to town*
Gail: okay not that much respect
Meanwhile ... there was a game that was played. While Devin Booker scored 59 of his teams 92 points—KOBE!—the Utah Jazz would live their mantra of the Strength of the Team is the Team and dominate this game from tip-off to buzzer. Rudy Gobert—who somehow took the backseat to a guy Brandon Jennings’ing his way to 59 points in a loss—set the NBA record for most dunks in a season. He surpassed the prior record holder—Dwight Howard—who set the record with 269. Gobert broke the mark and there’s still 7 games left in the season. Rudy Gobert is definitely an All-NBA Center and should be on either the 2nd or 3rd team. Most likely third with Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
Those who are impressed by wins that matter took note.
*Rudy Gobert breaks NBA Dunk record for a season*— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) March 26, 2019
*Devin Booker Ricky Davises his way to 59 points with Suns intentionally fouling while down 33 with less than a minute remaining*
And, heck yes, Gobert deserved to be an All-Star. I was meh on the fence at the time and I was wrong.— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) March 26, 2019
Rudy Gobert finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks in only 28 minutes. If he played as many minutes as Devin Booker he would have finished with 40 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Just sayin.
Meanwhile on the defensive end, Rudy Gobert helped the Utah Jazz shutdown anyone not wearing a #1 jersey. The rest of the Suns not named Booker went 12 for 42 (28% FG%).
Joe Ingles started out the game slow then started making it rain from three and even threw down a haymaker. He finished with 14 points and 7 assists. This most likely is the best dunk you’ll ever see and will be the dunk of the year. All hail the Dunk Dad Bod God.
Derrick Favors also dominated. It seemed that Favors was able to get dunk after dunk after dunk as he finessed his way to 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Derrick Favors evolution as a player is amazing this season. It’s becoming harder to justify letting him go in favor—see what I did there?—of a different player at the four in the offseason.
Ricky Rubio also had a fantastic game from the floor as he bullied Phoenix’s inexperience point guards. He finished with 18 points, 6 assists, and only 2 turnovers.
The only Jazz starter who somewhat struggled was Donovan Mitchell. But it all worked out for Utah. As Phoenix keyed in on Mitchell, he moved the ball around and allowed Utah to take advantage of all the open looks that it afforded them.
Notes and Takeaways
With the win, Utah climbs to 5th in the Western Conference. They now are only 2.5 games behind Portland for 4th.
Speaking of Portland, prayers and good feelings out to Jusif Nurkic who suffered a terrible leg injury last night in the second overtime of a thriller with Brooklyn. They have now lost CJ McCollum and Jusif Nurkic. McCollum has a chance to return for the postseason, but Nurkic is now lost for the season and possibly some of next season. It’s terrible as Nurkic had been playing his best ball. Portland didn’t deserve this.
While this may mean Portland could fall in the standings as they close out the season and meet a quick end in the playoffs, it doesn’t feel fair at all. It doesn’t feel right to profit from another team’s misfortune when that misfortune is injuries.
All those Nets players split once they saw the injury. Trail Blazers, too. Maybe it’s the father in me now, but I wish any one of those players ran to Nurk. Not saying they’re jerks for running away (it was gruesome) but man, takes a different type of person to run to him.— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) March 26, 2019
Hood.... First man over. Huge respect pic.twitter.com/9tdr1hvgPV— BeardedMangus (@BeardedMangus) March 26, 2019
The Memphis—play to convey—Grizzlies took out another playoff team as they continue to play spoiler. This time they beat the OKC Thunder and sent the Thunder to the bottom of the playoff picture in the West.