The streak is dead. Long live the streak.
This was a wild one. The Utah Jazz (28-13) fell to the New Orleans Pelicans (16-26) 138-132 in an absolute battle of present and future stars as Donovan Mitchell and Brandon Ingram combined for 95 points.
The game was closely contested from start to finish, with the largest lead of the night being nine points for the Pelicans just before halftime. The game was tied 23 different times and had 23 lead changes.
The final five minutes were an overtime that never should have been, if we’re being honest. After Brandon Ingram hit a jumper with .2 second left to give the Pelicans a 122-121 lead, the officials whistled a foul on Jaxson Hayes for grabbing Rudy Gobert on a game-winning tip-in attempt that never had a shot. Gobert split the ensuing free throws to provide the extra frame.
Rational reaction #1: Donovan Mitchell is incredible, but 10+ game win streaks are very hard to maintain
I’ve run out of things to say about Mitchell. He scored 46 tonight on 16-of-34 shooting, including 7-of-15 from 3. That includes two desperation shots from behind the arc in the final seconds of overtime that didn’t go in. As is becoming usual for Mitchell, he did the vast majority of that damage in the second half.
The streak had to end sometime, but take a second to think about what went into this. The Jazz won 10 games in a 19 day span. They won six straight road games in that stretch spanning from Los Angeles to Brooklyn. They played in the same city for consecutive games once.
It felt like they were on the road the whole time, and with each passing win the opponents took more notice. Though the schedule wasn’t tough, the Jazz were getting teams’ best shots and they were getting more drained. It showed tonight, especially in the first half; the guys were tired. With all that, it took Brandon Ingram going nuclear to knock off the Jazz.
Rational reaction #2: The perimeter defense must improve
Someone needs to let the Jazz know that Rudy Gobert can’t do everything on defense, as much as we like to think he can.
The Pelican guards were blowing past the perimeter defense all night, regardless of who the on-ball defender was. Gobert was put in no-win situations in the paint constantly. I wouldn’t say it’s a problem for the team yet, but it definitely was tonight and it might be becoming a trend.
Overreaction #1: Brandon Ingram is a stone cold Jazz killer
Utah could not stop Ingram tonight. Royce O’Neale got torched. Rudy had trouble with him all over the floor.
Ingram scored a game-high 49 and he did his damage from everywhere. At the rim and in the midrange (12-of-17 from 2). Behind the arc (3-of-8 from 3). At the free throw line (16-of-20). Nothing could be done.
Did the Pelicans get the best player in the Anthony Davis trade? Ok, maybe let’s not go quite that far.
Overreaction #2: The bench is still a problem
I say this is an overreaction because, on the whole, the bench has been vastly improved since the Jordan Clarkson trade. That was not the case tonight, though.
Clarkson led the bench scoring with 15 points and he made some big shots in the second half, but it just wasn’t his night in terms of his floor game that we’d seen to this point. Emmanuel Mudiay completely regressed to November Mudiay, torching fastbreak opportunities with bad decision making and generally playing out of control. Georges Niang couldn’t find the bottom of the net (0-of-4) and had several defensive miscues. Tony Bradley was late on his rotations and couldn’t finish at the rim on a few nice feeds.
Hopefully they continue to figure things out, but tonight was a step backwards.
Under-reaction #1: The officials sent this game off the rails
I will be fascinated to see the last two minute report tomorrow. Like I said, this game had no business going to overtime. Unless someone is flat-out tackled on the floor, you can’t call a foul with .2 second left in that situation. You just can’t.
Once the game did enter the extra frame, it was pretty clear the Pelicans were going to get the calls. Gobert fouled out on a questionable call while the Jazz led by 2. Quin Snyder challenged the call and the replay seemed pretty obvious that there was minimal contact, if any at all. The call stood.
This is going to be one of the most entertaining last two minute reports ever. The call to foul out Rudy Gobert -- which survived a challenge -- might have been even worse than the gift whistle the Jazz got to get to OT. https://t.co/ixGfF5UQF9— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 17, 2020
Donovan absorbed plenty of contact on a few occasions in overtime with no call, while everything was being whistled at the other end. New Orleans shot 10 overtime free throws to the Jazz’s 2 before Utah started fouling to extend the game.
Do you owe the home team a friendly whistle after unjustly putting their win in jeopardy? Maybe. I don’t know. It was a mess.