The Utah Jazz beat the Detroit Pistons 96-86 in what was a tale of two halves. Picking up right where he left off against the Milwaukee Bucks, Donovan Mitchell came out with a flamethrower helping lead the Jazz to an early 20-point lead. It looked like the Jazz would roll to an easy blowout win again and then the second half happened.
The lead tracker from NBA.com tells an interesting story.
You can see where the Jazz exploded with offense. After the first half though, the Jazz offense just couldn’t hit shots at the same level and the Pistons chipped away at the lead until it got a little uncomfortable for Utah at the end.
Some of this can be attributed to Bojan Bogdanovic’s struggles this year. This game he was 0/5 from three and still looks out of wack from last year. His wrist is obviously giving him problems and it makes you wonder if Utah needs to give him some rest to get better or if he needs to just play through it until it gets better. During a season with such a breakneck pace it makes you wonder how long that would take.
So what held them in this game? Defense. And it’s nice to see considering the Jazz defense has faltered late multiple times this season in losses like they had against the New York Knicks and Austin Rivers.
Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors had forgettable offensive nights (Gobert scored 4 points for example) but their defense was fantastic including some defensive rebounding that carried the team at the end.
Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors combine for 34 rebounds. pic.twitter.com/3qkzlOoK4a— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) January 10, 2021
For those frustrated about the Jazz giving up a lead, it’s actually pretty exciting to see the Jazz hold a team to just 86 points. It’d be nice to have blowouts every night but the defense showing up like this is a good sign for the future. Utah just has to figure out a way to stop elite scoring guards and wings and they’re in really good shape.
The league needs to watch out because Donovan Mitchell is already figuring it out again this season. This game he scored 28 points on 50% shooting from the field and 50% from three. The other exciting thing? Mitchell got to the line 7 times.
This is the Donovan Mitchell the Jazz had in the playoffs that had the team going nuclear offensively. Mitchell’s playmaking is evolving and it looks like he’s getting better and better at getting to the line. Mitchell is still evolving and he has a chance to really light things up every game this season. The Jazz have created a system that opens things up for him and Mitchell is showing a willingness to make the right pass. It’s beautiful basketball and it’s fun to watch.
Though he didn’t get the MVP, Jordan Clarkson continues to put up an impressive 6th Man of the Year campaign. He’s having a 50/40/90 season and tonight was in line with everything he’s done. Clarkson shot 42% from the field tonight, 40% from three and 100% from the line.
His scoring has been fantastic and it’s helping build leads while Derrick Favors holds down the paint. The Jazz second unit is going to be fun for years.