The Jazz kick off what will probably be their toughest road trip of the season so far this afternoon in Cleveland. The Jazz are looking to extend their win streak to four games, while the Cavs are looking to extend theirs to five games. With both teams on decent win streaks, somethings gotta give today in Cleveland.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, December 5th, 2021, 1:30 PM MT
Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, OH
LOCAL TV: ATTSN-RM
RADIO: 97.5/1280 The Zone, or listen on the Utah Jazz app
What to Watch for
Rudy Gobert vs. Evan Mobley
Today’s game will showcase a matchup of one of the best centers in the league in the last couple years in Rudy Gobert, and the future of the center position in Evan Mobley. Mobley has been terrorizing both opposing offenses and defenses all year long. Before going down with an injury a few weeks ago Mobley was right in the thick of the ROY conversation. The Cavs struggled in his absence, at one point losing 5 games in a row. Since his return last week, the Cavs have ripped off four straight. He changes so much about what the Cavs do, especially defensively. He’s insanely gifted with skills that a big man simply should not have.
Nothing you can even do here. Evan Mobley is just absurdly gifted pic.twitter.com/9UkHzjsjWK— Brayden Todd (@BraydenBallin) December 2, 2021
The Cavs currently have the league’s 2nd best defense, and a lot of that is because of Evan Mobley. It will be fun to see Gobert vs. Mobley today, given their differences in skillset, and see which comes out on top after a battle in the paint.
A few years ago Ricky Rubio dropped the first playoff triple-double for the Jazz since Karl Malone. He helped the Jazz to one of the more memorable playoff wins over the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder, including the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. Rubio’s time in Utah had it’s up and downs, but the magical moments will always stick out in my mind. Since being forced out of Utah, Rubio has played in three different cities in three seasons, and has found a great fit now in Cleveland. He’s having arguably his best season ever, averaging a career-high 13.5 points per game.
Ricky Rubio all 8 threes vs Knicks pic.twitter.com/V5IIiHBnvq— Misha Konygin (@gdfactoryclips) November 8, 2021
Like in Utah, Rubio has struggled with consistency, but has overall been a huge boost for this young Cavs team, coming off the bench in most games. It’s going to be fun to see Ricky interact with his old teammates, especially Donovan Mitchell (whose shoes he will be wearing), Joe Ingles (one of his best friends that he’s known since he was 17) and more.
Donovan Mitchell hitting stride
Donovan Mitchell is currently playing his best basketball of the year so far. In the last three games, Spida is averaging 28.3 points per game on 56/43/100 shooting splits. Over these games he’s averaging 6 assists per game, and is just making insane plays.
CAN’T STOP HIM.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 4, 2021
Donovan Mitchell with the dagger pic.twitter.com/zK58ILUoTb
It’s no coincidence that the Jazz are an undefeated 3-0 in these games that Mitchell has elevated his play. If he can continue to play like that today against the Caves, a four-game winning streak is probable.
Jazz catching fire
The Jazz are starting to look like that dominant three-point shooting team that they were last season. Over the last three games the Jazz have made 66 threes (!!!) on 132 attemps (50 %). That is absolutely insane. They are coming off a scorching 27 made threes from Friday night’s nail-biting win over the Boston Celtics.
When they Jazz make threes, they are a different beast. When most teams in the league make threes, they are different beasts. But when the Jazz do, at the frequency that they take them, they become an overwhelming force that just buries you so quickly. 50% isn’t a realistic number to keep shooting from three obviously, but look for the Jazz to stay hot from three and hopefully put this season’s shooting woes behind them.