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Utah Jazz cap off road trip with tough victory against the New Orleans Pelicans

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The Jazz streak continues

NBA: Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are only 12-25 on the season, 14th in the West. But don’t let that take away from what was a good road victory for the Utah Jazz. The Pelicans are playing dramatically better basketball recently and had won 5 of 6 coming into tonight’s game. Those victories were against the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Pacers, Rockets, and Kings so there were some high quality wins in there.

The Jazz move to 6 wins in a row and 11 of 12. They are just rolling right now and going 3-0 on a road trip proves it. With their upcoming schedule, it wouldn’t shock me to see them push this winning streak to 12 games.

Bojan Bogdanovic was doing Bogey things tonight. He was due a big game and boy did it come. He put up 35 points on just 21 shots and was a joy to watch. Brandon Ingram had a 35 point game as well, putting on an impressive display of crazy shot making.

And then Rudy Gobert ended his night with a block at the rim at the buzzer. Imagine that, the best defensive player in the world making a DPOY play. I don’t care what the media says, he’s the defensive player of the year again this year.

Rational Reaction #1: Jordan Clarkson is good at basketball

I was cautiously optimistic about this trade. I was ready for Exum to be moved, but I was hoping for a little more than Clarkson. I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t think he could contribute to a winning basketball team, but I’m realizing that’s more due to the terrible teams he’s played on and not what he does as a player.

He scored 16 points tonight and was 4-7 from 3. Nothing he does seems unsustainable, so it would appear that the Jazz have answered their bench scoring problems in one move. I wonder if the front office has anything else up their sleeves during trade season.

Rational Reaction #2: Kane Fitzgerald is not good at refereeing

As good as Clarkson is at basketball, Fitzgerald is infinitely times worse at reffing basketball games. I honestly don’t understand how someone can be so incompetent and still have their high paying job. I mean, he called a lane violation on someone that wasn’t even on the court. And don’t get me started with those technical fouls. Once a quarter in literally every game he’s involved in he likes to think that all of the fans paid money to watch him blow his whistle, it drives me crazy!

Overreaction: The Jazz are contenders again

I get that not all of these wins have been pretty. But a win is a win is a win. And the Jazz still aren’t healthy. Mike Conley will be coming back and can only make this team better, as that adds another high level NBA player back to this roster. Utah is only a game back from 2nd place in the West. With their light schedule continuing, that may happen sooner rather than later.

I love how many weapons this team has. On any given night someone will score 25+ points. Between Donovan Mitchell, Bojan, Ingles, and now even Clarkson at least someone will be having an on night and torch someone. And again, Mike Conley is coming back soon.

Under-reaction: Tony Bradley looks like a backup center

Tony Bradley is never going to wow you. He’ll never be an elite athlete in the NBA and he’ll never be a go-to scorer. He may never even be a starter. But he is definitely looking like a long-term backup center. He has been going to work and improving his game since being drafted 3 years ago. Much of that time was spent in the G-League. But with Ed Davis’ struggles, opportunity came knocking. Well Bradley was ready and he has performed quite adequately.

Tony was always a long-term investment for the Jazz. They knew he wouldn’t be ready to contribute until at least his 3rd year in the league. Well here we are and that patience is paying off. Before tonight, Tony averaged about 6 points and 7 rebounds in just 13.5 minutes in his last 3 games. He’s getting more comfortable out there and that’s a big development for the Jazz depth.