On the third game in four nights, and missing one of your most important players in Mike Conley, you wouldn’t expect much from this Utah Jazz team in years past. Not this year. This season is looking like a special one for the Utah Jazz as they gut out a 103 - 95 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Minus Mike Conley much of the playmaking had to come from other places and the Jazz got a fantastic performance from Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell scored 27 points, grabbed 9 boards and dished out 11 assists in a game where no one had their legs. His assist totals are actually not as big as they could have been, either. In the first half Mitchell kicked out the ball to multiple open shooters that missed wide open threes. For the game Utah shot 31% from three. Had they been hitting shots, Mitchell’s line might have been even gaudier.
The other person on this team that deserves huge credit is Rudy Gobert. Gobert had 16 points with 16 rebounds as well 3 blocks. He was dominant inside. The exciting part? Gobert did it with his typical high percentage shooting 7/9. That percentage hasn’t been as good this year so to see him do so well against a great defensive frontcourt in Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner is a welcome sight.
Multiple times at the beginning of the game, Sabonis went right at Gobert in the post and Gobert held him off time and time again. As a team the Pacers scored only scored 95 points and much of that can be contributed to Gobert’s insane defense. It’s a good reminder that even without one of your star players in the game, Rudy Gobert will always put you in position to win.
Jazz had an 87.5 defensive rating with Gobert on the floor tonight. (102.6 in the Favors minutes.)— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 7, 2021
Player of the Game
His percentages weren’t elite, but Mitchell’s play was. With Mike Conley out, Donovan Mitchell stepped up in a big way setting up his teammates. It’s a reminder that Donovan Mitchell is so much more than just a scorer. Shaq and Chuck on TNT are not as familiar with Mitchell’s game, much like every casual fan out there, but when you watch Mitchell in these situations where he has to step up to the occasion, he always has. That’s who he is.
If the Jazz need him to be a scorer he’s shown he can score with the best of them. Need a playmaker? Mitchell can put up double digit assists.
He’s a dynamic talent that has the ability to put Utah over the top in tough situations and tonight was a reminder of that. Like I mentioned before, this was the third game in four nights. A morning game. On the road. No Mike Conley. The team is shooting about 30% from three.
And Donovan Mitchell found a way to win.
If you wanted to find a game that showed you the toughness of this team, it would be this one. And there’s no reason to think this season won’t continue to be a magic one for the Utah Jazz.