The Utah Jazz completely dominated the Portland Trail Blazers in a 120-100 victory to start the season.
It was a bit of a shaky start for the Jazz to start the game but once the bench came in the Jazz took off and never looked back. The Jazz found everything they wanted on the offensive end hitting 19 threes for the game. But what was more impressive was the level of defense.
In the first half Utah held Damian Lillard to 0 points. That’s right, ZERO. Some of that was luck but a lot of that was good defense. Utah trapped Dame multiple times to get the ball out of his hands and did a good job of keeping him from getting to the free throw line.
Donovan Mitchell was tasked with guarding Dame for a lot of the game and was fantastic. Multiple times Dame was seeking fouls on his patented pull-up threes in the PnR and Mitchell was ready, not taking the bait. Lillard only took one free throw the entire game.
That’s some max level play when you can hold Dame to zero points and also lead your team in scoring with efficiency. Mitchell also dished out 5 assists and is starting to look very comfortable as the lead playmaker for the Jazz. The sky is the limit with Donovan Mitchell.
The other dominant force in this game was Rudy Gobert. Fresh off of signing his near supermax extension, Gobert looked at peace during the game. He was his usual dominant self on the defensive end blocking shots and contesting others, but he also looked happy to move the ball on offense to open shooters. He also wasn’t forcing things. Last season Gobert looked like he was forcing things but tonight Gobert was happy to roll to the rim, get put-backs and make easy buckets. And that’s all the Jazz really need from him. Anything more than that and it’s not effective because of how many shooters the Jazz have.
Speaking of shooters, Utah lit it up from all over the floor. Utah shot 19/50 from byond the arc and it fueled their double digit victory. Whether it was Bojan Bogdanovic hitting mutlipe spot up threes or Jordan Clarkson hitting pullups, it’s clear that the Jazz are going to be an offensive juggernaut this season and if the defense can hold up, Utah should be very, very good.
Donovan Mitchell was fantastic on the offensive end with his scoring and playmaking but Rudy Gobert was probably the most dominant player. Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds on 80% shooting. Those are big numbers for the former defensive player of the year, but was also impressive was his ability to move the ball within the offense. Multiple times in the pick and roll Gobert would move the ball to open shooters and the ball would rotate to an open three.
$200 million man pic.twitter.com/FhEQyTXxnc— Kris Kringles (@5kl) December 24, 2020
We didn’t see that as much last year as Gobert was looking to prove his value for his upcoming contract. Now that he’s gotten that contract it looks like Gobert is at peace and playing in a big way. If the Jazz get this level of play from Gobert all season you’ll see a Jazz offense at the top of every ranking.
You’ll also see the Jazz record at the top of the Western Conference standings.