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Jazz close strong in fourth, improve to 2-0

Utah overcomes early adversity and snags first road win of season

Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

If you’ve watched the Jazz for a while, you know that for whatever reason - Kings games are ALWAYS stressful. It doesn’t matter if the Kings are good or bad, they always play the Jazz tough. And it’s not just close games, these games always have Jazz fans stressin’. Tonight was no different.

This game had a pretty weird start to it, with Joe Ingles getting ejected in the first quarter after a questionable and really awkward flagrant 2 foul call. The Kings had a fastbreak with Joe Ingles on his heels in the paint, and Kings rookie Davion Mitchell went high up for the dunk. Ingles wasn’t trying to foul, but was just sorta there in front of him and bumped him mid air, causing a scary fall for Mitchell.

It was a weird play, and a dangerous one. Although it was pretty obvious that Ingles didn’t mean to foul or cause the fall, the refs deemed it worth of a flagrant 2, and an ejection. With Ingles tossed before the end of the first quarter, the Jazz were forced to change it up a little and be without their experienced leader off the bench.

The Jazz grew increasingly more frustrated with the refs in the second and third quarters, as Kings defenders were playing really physical defense and got away with a few ones. Sacramento was also simply outplaying the Jazz and outhustling for rebounds and loose balls through that point of the game. Just two nights after holding Damian Lillard without a made three-point shot, Kings rookie Davion Mitchell was giving Donovan Mitchell problems early on.

After the Kings lead grew to 9 in the third, Rudy Gobert and Quin Snyder both got T’d up, and that’s when things started to change a little bit. Refs started calling things a bit closer, and the Jazz picked up their physicality. The Jazz went to their bench for a spark, and they go it out of several players. Hassan Whiteside stepped in for Rudy Gobert, who was having a bit of a hard time getting into his game, and was getting fed up with officiating. Whiteside played some HUGE minutes in the third and fourth quarter, racking up 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block in 16 minutes. Whiteside was a game-high +18, mostly due to the run he helped the Jazz go on during that critical stretch.

The Jazz gained momentum back in fourth after the Whiteside minutes, and Gobert came back onto the floor. Enter Gobzilla. After fouling Richaun Holmes out the game, the Kings went small, which didn’t end well for them. Gobert scored 6 points in the final minutes of the game, including a back-breaking sequence with a block on one end, and a huge alley-oop on the other that gave the Jazz a four-point lead. Gobert finished with 17 points (9-10 FT), and 20 rebounds, marking his 17th career 20+ rebound game, most ever in franchise history. Rudy didn’t start out well tonight, but he finished strong, and it helped win the Jazz this ball game. The Jazz ran away with it in the final minutes, beating the Kings 110-101, improving to 2-0 on the season.

Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points with 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and stays shooting a great clip from the outside (6-14 from deep).

Mitchell definitely struggled inside however, shooting just 3-11 from non-three-point shots. Spida was also a game-high +18, so when he was on the floor, the Jazz were great.

Jordan Clarkson did Jordan Clarkson things, hitting a couple huge shots during the Jazz’s momentum-swinging run. Clarkson finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds on 6-19 shooting.

Interesting lineup change tonight with Jared Butler only getting two minutes. Quin Snyder opted to go with Trent Forrest off the bench instead of Butler, with Forrest making a couple nice little plays. Will be interesting to see how this spot and minutes distribution does going forward.