With 2:27 remaining in the game, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder put gamesmanship over individual accomplishment and pulled Joe Ingles out of the game with the good guys up 22 and victory effectively in hand.
Ingles embraced his head coach on the way out, having collected 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in his time out on the court.
The night was meaningful in more than one way for the 31-year old Aussie. Wednesday’s game was designated by the Jazz as Autism Awareness night. Ingles’ son, Jacob, has autism and the Ingles family recently came forward publicly about it along with trying to build awareness for the syndrome.
After the game, Ingles didn’t seem too bothered that he came so close to such an impressive stat line.
“I’ve never played for that reason,” Ingles said. “And I never will.”
Plenty of other guys aside from Joe stepped up in the 15-point win. Rudy Gobert dominated the paint to the tune of 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. All three of those numbers led the team, as did Gobert’s +28 in the plus/minus column.
The Jazz never trailed in the game, taking the lead 41 seconds in (on an Ingles 3-pointer fittingly enough) and never looking back.
The above-average point total for Utah (season average is just under 111) looked like a bit of a shock considering the team shot a meager 31.3 percent from three and an ugly 63.9 percent from the free throw line. What made the difference was great ball movement (33 assists) that helped lead to 58 points in the paint. Getting 16 fast break points also helped, as did attempting 36 free throws (even with the below-average shooting from the charity stripe).
All of that doesn’t even include the side show of Donovan Mitchell almost posterizine Javale McGee again (before the latter wisely stepped aside...
And this, um, thing that happened during the game.
Jingling Joe put it best.
“It was just a special night.”