Just put this one on repeat.
Bojan Bogdanovic broke the hearts of every Houston Rockets fan in the Toyota Center with a game winner from Croatia.
In a game that had multiple lead changes throughout, Bojan Bogdanovic showed why he was such an important acquisition for the Utah Jazz. For the game Bogdanovic only had 8 points, but 3 of them came when the Jazz needed them most.
Much of the credit also needs to to go to Jordan Clarkson who scored 30 points on 12/19 shooting. All he does is get buckets and he’s done it in a myriad of ways. He can shoot the three, but he also is able to do work in the lane. No one on the Rockets could handle him and he was as much a reason the Jazz won as anyone.
Rational Reaction #1: Jordan Clarkson changed this Jazz team
I don’t know if anyone expected Jordan Clarkson to flourish this much. So much of what the Jazz do is done within a very precise system that weaves its way to create an advantage for its best scorers. But Clarkson succeeds in chaos and Quin Snyder is right to let him run free.
In fact, I bet he loves this.
The Jazz system will often create isolation with a mismatch and Clarkson is feasting on weak second unit defenders. How many times does he find a way to score regardless of how good the defender is doing? He’ll dribble the ball working his way to the hoop and get a midrange scoop that seems to always fall.
It’s organized streetball and it’s fun every night.
The Jazz have a real weapon on their hands in Jordan Clarkson and will be right to allow him the scoring load with the bench. It’s done nothing but succeed since he’s joined the team.
Rational Reaction #2 The Jazz are finally starting to figout their chemistry with Mike Conley
Since Mike Conley has moved to the starting lineup it’s been a mix of good and bad. Conley’s play has been really solid but it does seem to have thrown off the chemistry recently.
Tonight felt different.
Conley played within the offense and other Jazz players seemed to play more cohesively. Utah was also able to execute a solid game plan against a Rockets team that has a style that counters a lot of what Utah does.
Quin Snyder has also switched things up and has Mike Conley playing more with the second unit instead of Donovan Mitchell. It appears to be working. Conley is able to set up players like Jordan Clarkson and allows them to go to work then punishes weaker defenders who make mistakes.
The exciting thing for Utah is that there is a lot of room for improvement. Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles haven’t been quite themselves for the last few weeks. But with time, things will get better. All of these players are big time competitors and will find a way to make things work.
Overreaction: Joe Ingles hasn’t been as impactful lately.
Joe Ingles, since Mike Conley has been inserted into the starting unit, hasn’t been quite the same. Tonight he took 2 shots. He did have 7 assists but his 4 turnovers, some of them just dreadful, really hurt the team.
His unwillingness to shoot the ball tonight nearly cost them the game. On one of the late possessions Ingles didn’t take a three point shot, as contested as it might have been, and passed it to Donovan Mitchell with 5 seconds left near the half court and was forced into a terrible shot.
This mentality from Ingles reminds me of when he first joined the Jazz and was too passive. Everyone knew he could shoot and begged for him to take the open shot only to see him pass the ball needlessly. For some reason he’s doing it now again.
If the Jazz want to go all the way, they need Joe Ingles to get back into form. It will take time, but some of this can be cured by Ingles just taking shots instead of forcing bad passes. This doesn’t mean Joe shouldn’t be a facilitator, because he’s very good at it, but the Jazz need him to take the open shot when it’s there. An open three from Joe Ingles is always a great shot.
It’s just a matter of time for when he figures it out. When he does Utah is going to be even more potent.
Underreaction: Juwan Morgan at center is working
In a recent surprise move Quin Snyder has played Juwan Morgan as the backup center two games in a row.
It’s not something you’d expect from Snyder who is dedicated to his systems that the team has worked on perfecting all year. But this style change with the second unit has shown a lot of promise for Utah and their second unit.
Tonight, like he has in the past, Tony Bradley struggled with a spread floor team. When he got pulled out of the paint, the Rockets attacked the rim and Bradley was unable to affect shots at the rim.
Luckily, Snyder pivoted quickly. What it did was give space for Jordan Clarkson and the second unit to get to work.
It’s not un understatement to say this is a pretty brave move by Snyder. Juwan Morgan is a first year player who signed with Utah after a stint with the Stars. Now he’s playing big minutes as the backup center for a team contending for playoff positioning. There are a lot of scenarios where this goes bad.
But it’s done nothing but open things up for the second unit.
Imagine the Jazz building on this. Morgan can shoot the ball and help space the floor. It’s not out of the question to think the Jazz can create a two look system that forces opposing defenses to deal with two entirely different schemes.
The biggest fan of this move, besides Jordan Clarkson, should be Jazz fans. Quin Snyder is doing everything he can to make this work and this is one move that has potential to be big for Utah as they close out the season and head into the playoffs.