The first 36 minutes of this game were UGLY for the Jazz. Utah’s defense was just about non-existent and the decision making by their ball handlers was probably at the lowest level it has been all season. Donovan Mitchell, for one, had 6 turnovers through three quarters, which by most metrics, isn’t really something that you want to happen.
The Hornets, on the backs of LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, took Utah completely out of their system. Charlotte’s defense seemed to be focused on not letting Rudy Gobert get any easy buckets from under the basket, holding him to zero points in the first half. They were also able to use their athleticism to force Utah into a plethora of off balance mid-range jumpers and in my opinion, the worst stretch of basketball the Jazz have played all season.
And then, the Jazz went absolutely nuclear.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Jazz held a 1 point lead. Three minutes and thirty seconds later, the Jazz were UP 19. They went on a 26-2 run and just blew the doors, windows, and roof off of the game. In a night where they seemed destined to lose because of poor defense, poor shooting from their stars, and poor decision making, they closed the game out 41-20 and came out with a 22 point win. That’s ridiculous.
The Hornets had been playing a really good game, too. Ball had another great showing against the Jazz, ending the night with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Hayward, in his return to Utah, scored a really efficient 21 points before having to leave the game early due to an apparent hand injury. Charlotte’s supporting cast was active on defense and was hitting some pretty difficult shots. The things is, none of that mattered in the end.
Utah simply turned it on to a jaw dropping level, leading to some insane sequences like this:
Utah finished the night with a franchise record 28 three pointers off of some blistering shooting from Joe Ingles (7-10 from three), Jordan Clarkson (5-10), and Georges Niang (7-7). I’m honestly expecting to see this team be the first to hit 30 threes in a game sometime soon.
Rudy Gobert definitely has a case for winning tonights game ball because of some of the ludicrous defense he played in the second half. However, I want to give this one to the Minivan.
Niang was integral in the Jazz staying in the game in the first half. He was knocking down corner three after corner three and helped give Utah some much needed offense off the bench. He continued to stay white-hot from downtown in the second half and finished the night with 21 points, all of them coming from behind the arc. It should also be noted that Niang is playing some really solid defense this season. It’s clear that he worked really hard on that aspect of his game during the off-season and it is really showing off. Keep rollin’ Minivan.