In their game on Tuesday Utah was dominant in a lot of facets. They shot a blistering 44% from three on 47 attempts! That type of shooting will blow the doors off any opposing defense and it’s no surprise they won big.
But it wasn’t just shooting that helped the Jazz get their win. Utah outrebounded the Pelicans 54 to 38 and played a high level of defense all game. Rudy Gobert has been in DPOY form all season and it wasn’t any different against Zion Williamson and Steven Adams. Gobert demolished Adams on the defensive boards keeping him, and Zion from getting an edge in offensive rebounds. He’ll have to do the same tonight if Utah wants to keep New Orleans from getting the offensive boards they live off of night in and night out.
Gobert also was elite protecting the rim. Williamson tried to challenge Gobert multiple times and Gobert shut him down with ease.
Royce O’neale was also a huge factor in his defensive play against Brandon Ingram. O’Neale held Ingram to just 17 points on 44% shooting. Ingram was also a -18 for the game. O’Neale was physical with Ingram and anticipated everything he tried. When O’Neale can use his phisicality against wings he becomes a game-changing defender and it showed last game. If Utah wants to win this one, they’ll need that elite defense again from O’Neale, along with his impressive 45% three point shooting.
When: Thursday, January 21st • 8:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: TNT, AT&T SportsNet - Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
Will Shaq pay attention to Rudy Gobert’s impact?
Shaq is going to make jokes about Gobert and Gobert needs to have a good game to show what he does. The problem is it’s not clear it will make a difference.
Shaq’s entire analysis is based off of the points per game shown on a stat sheet in 20-point font given to him by some production assistant. Gobert needs to have a classic dominant night where he rejects Zion, dunks lobs and grabs somewhere between 16-20 boards.
If Gobert does that again Utah will be up big and the TNT crew will have to recognize what he does.
But whatever happens this stuff shouldn’t matter. Gobert has lessened his offensive touches because the Jazz offense has taken their focus on the three point shot to another level. Utah is #3 in the league in three point attempts and is #3 in three point percentage. It’s been a very successful formula and some of that increase can be attributed to Gobert’s willingness to pass out to the three point shooters.
Gobert’s unselfishness this season should be celebrated but instead it is mocked by a former center obviously jealous of Gobert’s bank account. Shaq, and the casual NBA fan, may never understand Gobert’s impact, but they will definitely quiet down as the wins for Utah keep racking up.