The Utah Jazz played their first official basketball game of the 2020-21 season last night, and it’s hard to imagine that it could have gone any better. So much that we hypothesized in the offseason and preseason came to fruition last night in the first game of the season.
The Jazz played a perfectly balanced, team game of basketball in a convincing win over a Blazers team that many had predicted to finish near the top of the Western Conference getting everyone back healthy again. It’s hard to make conclusions off of one game, especially a season opener, but MAN DID THE JAZZ LOOK GREAT.
After a rough opening couple of minutes, the Jazz bench came in and sparked a run fueled by Jordan Clarkson and the legend himself Derrick Favors. Watching Favors last night was so much fun, and it felt like he never left. He and Joe Ingles have instantly picked up where they left off, terrorizing second units in the pick-n-roll. Favs was a perfect 5-5 from the field last night and snagged 7 rebounds. In the first couple minutes that he was on the floor the Jazz outscored the Blazers by 14 points. Last year these minutes typically led to the Jazz’s demise, but things looked very differently last night. If one game was the sample, the Derrick Favors reentry experience in Utah is going to be amazing.
Getting Bojan Bogdanovic back is huuuuuuuuge. Bojan’s game is so silky smooth. Rarely do you see anything flashy about his game, but there’s a sense of beauty in that. In the bubble and playoffs last season the Jazz missed Bojan’s game so much. Having another player on the floor that can score from anywhere adds to many options to the Jazz offense. Bojan’s 15-20 points per game are so important. The offense just seems like there is so much less tension and pressure when Bojan is on the floor, and having him there just makes the Jazz a much better team. During a little lull in the first few minutes of the game last night, the Jazz needed a bucket. They had looked a little sloppy, and missed a few shots and had some turnovers. The Blazers hit a couple shots and built a lead, and it was one of those moments where things might have gotten out of hand. But Bojan calmly slipped behind a Favors screen and drilled a three from the top of arch, and lowkey it changed the pace of that first quarter.
Rudy Gobert was beasting last night. 20 points and 17 rebounds has become kind of an ordinary occurrence for Gobzilla, but last night hit different with Rudy’s recent contract extension. This play from Donovan and Rudy was amazing, for so many reasons.
Having Rudy and Donovan locked down for multiple years is such a relief for Jazz fans, and last night showed exactly why.
Jordan Clarkson was on flamethrower mode last night. Clarkson came in guns blazing and dropped 10 points in five minutes during the first quarter. This kid just scores.
I could literally go down the roster and analyze how great this team played last night. From top to bottom, these guys just flat out played last night. This downbeat quickly turned into an extension of the game recap from last night, but I can’t help but keep talking about how perfect that opening game was. To put a cherry on top, Udoka Azubuike’s first NBA bucket was a poster on our boy Enes Kanter.
Udoka Azubuike's first NBA basket is a poster dunk on Enes Kanter. pic.twitter.com/JAGrvywZcy— Adam (@prodigyJF) December 24, 2020
I know one game is never an indicator of how a full season will go, but last night showed how solid the Jazz might be this year. Watching them, they just really don’t have any weaknesses. They move the ball, they hit threes, they defend, and they have multiple guys that can score 20+ points on any given night. I don’t mean to get to excited here but JAZZ NBA CHAMPS 2021, YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.