For the first time in a decade, the Utah Jazz can say they swept the Golden State Warriors. The Jazz won all four matchups, and by an average margin of 14.8 points no less. Wednesday’s 129-96 win over the Warriors was the most complete victory of the four with the highest margin of victory and easily the best defensive performance.
Donovan Mitchell did his thing for 23 points in a mere 22 minutes on 13 shots. Bojan Bogdanovic also did his thing for 18 points and Joe Ingles went for 11 points and eight assists.
Then there was Rudy Gobert...
Rational reaction #1: Rudy Gobert is entering god mode
You think a guy would get tired of dominating inferior foes, but no, Rudy is out hunting heads. His poor competition tonight, primarily Willie Cauley-Stein, were merely the latest victim.
I mean, just look at this.
get out the way pic.twitter.com/jVymMBJ1JO— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) January 23, 2020
By halftime, Gobert had already posted a double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds with a pair of blocks to boot. The only reason he didn’t push on to a 30/20 night was because, you know, 33-point blowout and whatnot. To be fair, he also slowed down a bit as guys like Mitchell and Bogdanovic took over somewhat on offense. But his 22 points and 15 rebounds (six offensive) were just a glimpse as to how much Gobert impacted this game during what meaningful moments there were.
In the last few weeks, the Stifle Tower has been taking names and smashing opponent’s dreams. Looking back at his last six games, we find that Gobert is sitting at averages of 21.7 points on 74.6 percent shooting to go with 15.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
Are you not entertained?
Rational reaction #2: Mike Conley’s gonna need a bit more time to acclimate.
In game one of his mid-season return, Conley lit it up in his minutes-restricted time on the court. His 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting against Indiana were a welcome sign that a return to full health his Memphis form were imminent.
Wednesday’s game showed different.
Conley went 4 of 10 from the field for just eight points, half of those coming in garbage time. He was by no means a negative, but we’re talking about a guy who’s supposed to be one of the two-way stars of the team. Expectations area tad higher than “don’t be a negative.”
There’s still plenty of time for him to come back. We just know it hasn’t happened. Yet.
Overreaction #1: Gobert is the best center in the league right now
There’s every argument to make that another center is better than Gobert. Maybe. But right now no one is besting Gobert. Going back to pulling stats from the last six games it’s clear where things stand among the NBA’s bigs. He’s not tops in any of the major statistical categories — 3rd in points, second in rebounds and in blocks — but no one is above him in all three. Plus, given his defensive impact, no center in the world is currently playing better basketball than Rudy Gobert.
Under-reaction: The Jazz are in second place in the West
Not partially, tied, or whatever. the Utah Jazz are in sole possession of second place in the Western Conference of the NBA. It’s a pretty good feeling and it’s been a long time coming. Like, 20 games in the making. The Jazz team from 20 games ago only had two fewer losses than this one right now.
This trend won’t hold — the 18 wins in 20 games — and the Jazz will drop out (but hopefully back into) second at some points. That is unless they play like one of the greatest Jazz teams of all time for the remainder of the season.
But for now, it’s good to bask in the glow of cheering for an elite team.
Utah Jazz since Christmas:— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 23, 2020
1st in offense
1st in point differential
1st in win %
1st in FG%
1st in 3P%
1st in TS% pic.twitter.com/NI14SatLhT