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Utah Jazz dominate the New Orleans Pelicans for first preseason win

The Jazz look a lot more comfortable with all their best players playing

New Orleans Pelicans v Utah Jazz Photo by Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images

What a difference playing your starters makes!

The Utah Jazz, behind their regular season rotation (minus Rudy Gay who is still out recovering from a foot injury), dominated the New Orleans Pelicans wire to wire, 127-96.

The past two games saw the Jazz playing their bench players and, in hindsight, it might have been to get a chance to see certain guys play against better talent. Tonight, with the rotation players all in, the Jazz looked good on both ends of the floor. The Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, so a lot of this game should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s a good sign for Jazz fans to see their team take care of business.

The most dominant performance has to go to Rudy Gobert who ended with 19 points, 19 rebounds and 2 blocks. No matter what, when Rudy Gobert enters the game for the Jazz their defense and offense improve dramatically. Tonight Gobert did his patented rolling to the rim but dished out some nice passes to open guys.

This dish to Bojan Bogdanovic was fantastic.

He also did what he does best protecting the rim.

Gobert wasn’t the only one having a night. Donovan Mitchell showed that he has increased is bag of tricks this offseason.

Just when you think he’s shown you everything Mitchell brings out more. But probably the most impressive thing tonight from Mitchell was his defense. Mitchell had some eye-opening defensive stats tonight.

It’s not something to expect, but maybe something to hope for that Donovan Mitchell can take another step this year on the defensive end. He carries a huge offensive load so it remains to be seen if he can play at a high level defensively every night, but it’s fair to say that the Jazz need Donovan Mitchell’s defense to improve if they want a real chance at a title this year. Mitchell had 18 points and 5 assists. He actually struggled a bit in the first half forcing things, but he’ll be more than fine offensively this season. It’s that playmaking and defense the Jazz need.

Mostly playing alongside Rudy Gobert like he did last season, Mike Conley had a solid impact on the game. Conley’s 15 points and 5 assists were quiet but he was a +35 for the game with Gobert as a +37. That combo is lethal for the Jazz and is going to crush teams again this season, especially second units.

Some interesting notes. Hassan Whiteside struggled to find a rhythm tonight. In a game the Jazz won by 31, he was a -2. It will be interesting to see how Quin Snyder adjusts when Whiteside is struggling. Tonight, he brought in Eric Paschall to replace him. Paschall had some nice moments playing off of Gobert, something that seems to help everyone, but that versatility for Paschall to play the center position helps Utah bring a variety of looks. Whiteside needs to figure things out quickly because the Jazz have options this year like they didn’t have last year. When Rudy Gay comes back, Snyder can play him at center and the Jazz can go small in a variety of ways.