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Rudy Gobert dominates, Utah Jazz embarrass Sacramento Kings by 22

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Rudy leads a balanced Utah attack and cruises to victory

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz
Posterized
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Conley has returned and the Jazz are winning again.

All is well tonight, Jazz fans.

Well... unless you, like many other Jazz fans, were unable to watch the game (thanks, comcast/xfinity and AT&T).

But more on the AT&T debacle later.

Utah grabbed control of this game early in the 1st quarter, jumping to a 24-10 lead just over 5 minutes into the game after a Bojan Bogdanovic three pointer. The Jazz definitely had “the blender” running on high tonight, and it cut through Sacramento’s defense like a scalpel through melted butter.

Utah led by 16 after 1 and would lead by at least 12 the rest of the way.

Rational reaction #1: Rudy Gobert is an All Star this year

He is Utah’s most important player, possession after possession, night in and night out. Tonight was no exception. Gobert had himself a GAME back home at The Viv. He scored 28 points on a silly 9-of-11 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Rudy dominated the glass and the paint all night, ending with 15 rebounds (no Kings player had more than 7 boards), 3 blocks, and 2 steals.

Stock? Slock? Bleal? What say ye, dunkers?

Utah stumbled a couple of nights ago against the Pelicans. Rudy did everything he could to ensure a better outcome tonight. He was a force everywhere he went - setting good screens, rolling hard to the rim, and ferociously protecting the paint. He was a game-high +32 in 33 minutes. #DPOY

Vote Rudy Gobert for the all star game, Jazz fans. He deserves it this year. Just google “NBA vote Rudy Gobert” and click “Vote for Rudy Gobert” in the search results. You can vote once a day for up to 10 players. (You can also vote at vote.nba.com, via the NBA app, or with Google assistant through voice commands on smart devices.)

Let’s get Rudy to Chicago for the All Star game!

Rational reaction #2: Bojan Bogdanovic is an assassin

Bogey scorched the nets, scoring a whopping 30 points on just 15 shots (10/15 from the field, 6/9 from three, 4/4 from the line). When he’s cooking like he was tonight, opposing defenses are lucky if they can just slow down Utah’s offense. Forget stopping it.

I mean...

Textbook escape dribble and side step.

Unstoppable transition offense. Ingles and Bogey sprint to the corners, Rudy sprints to the paint, and the Jazz create a 5-on-4 while Marvin Bagley trails the play (shout to Royce O’Neale’s defense to create the turnover).

Overreaction #1: Royce O’Neale is a unicorn in his own right

After a tough outing against Brandon Ingram, O’Neale responded and stepped up in a big way. He was just 1-of-4 from the field, but made huge contributions as a playmaker, rebounder, and defender. His final stat line of 2 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block don’t quite do justice to how important he is to Utah’s identity.

Remember this absolute beauty?

Royce makes not one but two key passes on this possession. The first is a swing pass to Donovan Mitchell, who has enough space to attack the defense. This is what kick-starts Quin Snyder’s “blender” offense. Donovan kicks the ball to Mike Conley (welcome back Mike!), who kicks it right back to O’Neale. Royce makes a quick decision on the catch and drives hard to the basket before throwing a spot-on skip pass to Mitchell for a smooth three ball (corner pocket).

It’s difficult to figure out a good player comparison for a guy like Royce O’Neale. A dash of Draymond, a little splash of Danny Green, a pinch of Bruce Bowen...

This season, O’Neale has a true shooting percentage of .632, a usage rate of 8.6%, and is posting .117 win shares per 48 minutes. He is the only player in NBA history to qualify for the minutes per game leaderboard and meet the criteria of TS% > .630, USG% < 9, and WS/48 > .110.

Royce O’Neale, a true Unicorn

Unicorn.

Overreaction #2: Rayjon Tucker is this year’s diamond in the rough

There’s a lot to love about this kid. His athleticism, his attitude, his competitiveness. What stood out tonight was his heart, hustle, and grit.

Up 20+ points in garbage time, he hustled for a loose ball, nearly saving it. Ironically, he nearly ended up in the lap of Gail Miller (or “Mama Gail”, as I believe Craig Bolerjack called her on the broadcast). Then, a few possessions later, he played great defense and took a charge with less than 30 seconds left in the game.

This kid is a warrior. Keep an eye on him.

Under-reaction #1: AT&T needs to go

Jazz fans were not happy tonight. Many fans didn’t get to watch the game at all. The Jazz released a statement on twitter:

Yikes.

Thankfully, the contract with AT&T is up after 2021 and the organization is aware of how displeased fans are with them as a broadcasting partner.

Hopefully fans get better next time around. God knows we deserve it.

Shout-outs:

Joe Ingles’ near-double-double with assists and rebounds.

Jordan Clarkson’s incredible play off the bench.

Mike Conley’s dimes and a three-ball.

Georges Niang finding his rhythm again (4/7 from the field, 2/4 from 3).

Donovan with 22, got to the line 7 times.