Coming into the game tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ injury report was full. The Cavs were without Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and more. Those players account for the majority of the Cavaliers offense, and missing them for tonight made this a game the Jazz knew they should win.
Jazz fans know all too well what can happen in this situation. If you had flashbacks to embarrassing losses last year against Houston or Denver with depleted rosters, you aren’t alone. This seemed like a set up for a classic Utah Jazz trap game.
Fortunately, the Jazz proved those worries to be irrational, as they took care of business tonight. The game started slow, and the starters looked a bit flat, although their defense was strong. It was when the bench came in that Utah really got cooking. Jordan Clarkson’s offense and Derrick Favors’ defense led the Jazz to a double digit lead.
Jordan Clarkson was on fire, as per the norm nowadays. He put up 14 points in the first half and finished the game with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. The lead steadily grew throughout the game, mostly thanks to the Cavs’ inability to score. The Jazz held Cleveland to only 36 points in the first half, and 87 points in the full game.
Due to Joe Ingles’ absence in tonight’s game, Miye Oni found himself getting rotation minutes, finishing the night with 18 minutes played. During his time with the regulars, he impressed fans with his defense, effort, and athleticism. Oni showed off his all-around skillset tonight, putting up a balanced line of six points, two three-pointers, three rebounds, two assists, and three blocks. Maybe his play tonight can lead to more rotation minutes in the future.
Bojan Bogdanovic seemed to find his shot again tonight, scoring 20 points on only ten shots. Hopefully that signifies the beginning of a trend, not just a hot shooting night. Mike Conley once again looked comfortable and in control, scoring 12 points, grabbing six boards, and dishing out five assists. Mike has found his comfort zone in his new role with the Jazz, and the team is better for it.
Rudy Gobert had yet another poor shooting night. That’s something that fans aren’t accustomed to seeing from the hyper-efficient big man, but he’s had a few of them to start this season. Knowing Rudy’s game, he’ll move right on past this cold streak soon enough. Jazz fans should have nothing to worry about, but it would be nice to see another dominant offensive game from Rudy soon.
After the lead grew to near 30 points, Quin finally rested the starters for the last five minutes of the game. The young guys at the end of the bench showed us plenty of effort, and impressive teamwork. A lot of guys in that position try too hard to get their own, but this squad seems to have strong chemistry. The ball was moving really well, and guys got open shots from that.
Donovan Mitchell was the best player on the court tonight. He was just getting to his spots with ease, hitting threes, making plays for teammates, and carrying out his will against the Cavs’ young defense. Don finished with 27 points (9-15 FG, 5-7 3P, 4-4 FT), four assists, and three rebounds. When Donovan is playing his game, not being controlled by the defense, he is a superstar. Over the last three games, he has averaged 29 points per game, and it’s looked easy for him. I think it’s safe to say that his slump is over.
The Jazz were getting wins even with a struggling Mitchell and ice cold Bogdanovic. How will Utah fare if those two are truly back?
Due to the postponement of tomorrow’s game, the Jazz will next take on the Hawks at home on Friday.