The Raptors were coming in with this being their 5th game of a road trip and on the second night of a back to back. Oh, and they had several guys out with injury. You know what that means....
The first quarter started out ok for the Jazz. Royce O’Neale had one of the best quarters I’ve seen from him in a long time. Hitting shots, successful drives, and fantastic defense. Unfortunately, the Raptors were making their open shots and the Jazz weren’t. Sometimes it really is that simple. Also, Joe Ingles really needs to stop giving up open looks from 3.
Tony Bradley has really come into his own the past few games. His timing and defensive reads have been improving dramatically. And yet he still gets one of the worst whistles I’ve ever seen. Apparently someone had to pick up that slack with Dante Exum now in Cleveland. Utah getting positive bench minutes has been a huge difference maker. I think Quin finally found a bench rotation that works. If only the starters wouldn’t come back and let the lead slip away.
Alright second half. I was really hoping that Toronto would lose their legs. How dare I hope for a rest advantage. Anyways, apparently Serge Ibaka is the 3 point champ now. I swear he hit every one he took tonight! Also, Kyle Lowry is low-key one of the worst floppers in the NBA. He just launches his body sideways and because he’s so small it looks like contact. Most of the time it’s not. Drives me crazy. Honestly, the Raptors got a very friendly whistle in this one.
4th quarter. Whoof. They were getting out hustled on the break and on the boards. Utah is one of the best rebounding teams in the league, yet let the Raptors come in and have like a +20 rebounding advantage. That. Can’t Happen. Well, Jazz climb back in it and have all the momentum in the world. Joe Ingles is rolling like he hasn't in weeks, which is an absolute joy to watch. The crowd is as loud as ever and it feels like a playoff game. But down the stretch they just couldn’t get the buckets they needed, Rudy lost his cool and got ejected, and the Jazz found themselves losing to another 7-man team. Coulda shoulda woulda.
Rational Reaction: Where did Donovan Mitchell the Point Guard Go?
There are only 2 players in the entire NBA that have at least as high a USG% as Donovan Mitchell and at least as low an AST%: Dion Waiters and Joel Embiid. Donovan Mitchell is a special offensive talent. He can take over games and score in bunches. I love when he gets in that mode because he’s unstoppable. But I’d also love him to realize that sometimes the best shot is the one that your teammate took because your drive into the lane got them open. Facilitate the ball a little more rather than taking really difficult floaters and contested runners. This team is lethal from 3. Use that.
Under Reaction: Is Joe Ingles Back?
Ingles had about a 20 game stretch earlier in the season where he was an absolute beast. He had a quicker trigger and was dangerous on the attack. He was jawing at guys and just having a great time. Lately he hasn’t seemed as engaged, isn’t willing to take the open looks, and his shot has been a little off. Seeing him bounce back in a big way tonight was encouraging. Let’s hope we get this Joe more often than not. He’ll be vital come playoffs.
Over Reaction: NOOOOO!! NOT ANOTHER LOSING STREAK!!
Ok surely this won’t actually happen right? We can’t keep going on these 4-5 game winning and losing streak. I’m just not strong enough. My heart can’t take it. My stress levels can’t take it. With a big road game in OKC, my sanity can’t take it. So let’s hope they bounce back on Wednesday.