After the game last night Donovan Mitchell gave passionate post-game comments that the Jazz needed to play better and that this wasn’t on Quin.
Donovan: “You can’t put this on Quin or the assistants. This is on us. We’ve just got to f***in’ play better.”— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) November 27, 2021
Tonight that proved to be true. Utah blitzed the Pelicans from the beginning behind a huge night from Donovan Mitchell. In just the first half Mitchell had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. His three was falling, which helps, but he was making the right reads all night whether it was driving in transition opportunities or kicking it out to open shooters. Whatever your thoughts on who’s the most important player on the team, Donovan Mitchell is absolutely the leader. His style of play, as well as his level of production, ripples through the other players on the floor. When Mitchell is playing the right way, everyone else follows suit. For the night Mitchell ended 21/7/7 and only had to play 27 minutes.
But it wasn’t just Mitchell who had an improved night. Mike Conley, who went 0/4 from 3 last game, was 4/7 in this one. Conley has seemed a bit invisible the last few weeks but tonight, along with Mitchell, showed his dominating ability. It’s nice to be reminded that when this Jazz team is playing well, they can hit an elite ability to score. Considering how little of it we’ve seen this year, it was good to see.
Joe Ingles, who got the start in place of Royce O’Neale who was out with an ankle sprain, also had a nice night. Ingles was a near no show the night before but tonight impacted the game in a big way. Ingles was 4/5 from three and finished with 15 points. It’s been a rough year for Ingles so far so to see him hit open shots was big.
Rudy Gay had another big showing for the Jazz. He was probably the only one that could show a good game in last night against the Pelicans. Gay has been a dominating presence from as the Jazz’s backup power forward since he first stepped on the floor. Tonight he took advantage of the improved ball movement from the Jazz and was perfect from three going 4/4. As the season goes on, Gay is likely going to prove to be one of the most pivotal parts of this Jazz team’s chances to move deep into the playoffs.
Speaking of ball movement, the Jazz had 24 assists as a team tonight. The night before? 17. The Jazz have a ton of talent on the floor with every lineup, but when the team gets selfish and isn’t looking for the open shot, they get stagnant really quick. It’s nice to see them make a point to move the ball again. The more they do that, the more they’ll continue to win games.
It’s a nice win for the Jazz but they need to build on this. The Pelicans are not a good team. Utah needs to show this type of play against the better competition, and they’ll get that chance soon. Having said that, a win is a win and you could feel a difference with the team tonight. The body language, on a back to back, looked much better. If this is a sign of things to come, perhaps this was the turning point of the season for the Jazz? Whatever the case, it’s nice to see the Jazz turn it around.