Coming into tonight’s game, the Utah Jazz had been struggling. As the game began, it looked like that trend may continue. The Boston Celtics jumped up to an early lead, and the Jazz just looked out of sorts. Sloppy turnovers and poor decisions plagued the team, and it looked like this game may go in the same direction as the Warriors game. Enter Rudy Gobert.
When the game gets ugly, the Jazz can fall back on their defense, and their Defensive Player of the Year, to help them get back on track. Rudy Gobert is always there, protecting the paint, covering for his teammates. Tonight he led the charge yet again. Whenever Boston got on a run, Gobert was quick to mess things up for them.
You're throwing Bs at me. It's Ps, babe. pic.twitter.com/iYm8zvqXRW— utahjazz (@utahjazz) March 17, 2021
Gobert led, and the Jazz followed. Joe Ingles hit a couple of threes, Derrick Favors got some stops, and they charged back to end the first quarter just down two.
In the second quarter, Jordan Clarkson did Jordan Clarkson things. Wasting no time, Clarkson quickly hit three shots from beyond the arc, and forced the Celtics to guard him tighter. Boston continued to counter Utah’s attacks, and the scored stayed very close throughout the second quarter. The Jazz took a one point lead into half time.
Unfortunately, Boston wouldn’t roll over. The All-Star duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum showed why they garner so much attention around the league. The two of them made tough shot after tough shot all game long. Utah would make a run, and Boston would answer right back. The Celtics won the third quarter by three points, giving the Jazz a two point deficit heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was Rudy Gobert time. When he was in the game, the Jazz dominated. When he sat, the Celtics came right back. Gobert was a +16 in the fourth quarter alone, and it was very evident watching the game. When Celtics dared isolate against Gobert off a switch, he taught them lessons. When his teammates got him the ball, he dunked it, no matter who was in his way. Rudy Gobert played with attitude tonight.
when you think you got this but you do not, in fact, got this pic.twitter.com/LuNjZGrgqF— utahjazz (@utahjazz) March 17, 2021
Boston kept it close. Marcus Smart’s defense forced the Jazz to commit turnovers, and Brown and Tatum made Utah pay for their carelessness. It’s a good thing the Utah Jazz have a closer. Even with a rough shooting night, Donovan Mitchell knows he is a star. In the biggest moments of the game, he came through. With just over a minute left, Mitchell fought through handsy defense from Smart, navigated a Gobert screen, and pulled up for a deep three. Bang.
That three cemented the lead for the Jazz, forcing Boston to begin fouling the Jazz on every subsequent possession. The Jazz came through in the clutch, and won this game. The three Jazz All-Stars combined for 27 points on only 12 shots in the fourth quarter.
Mike Conley was a steady force for the Jazz, as always. He scored 17 points and dished out 5 assists. Clarkson scored 20 points and went 5-10 from beyond the arc. Ingles scored 14 points and made 4-8 from three. Mitchell finished with 21 points and 5 assists.
But the clear MVP tonight was the leader of the team, Rudy Gobert.
Rudy has been on an absolute tear since returning from the break, and tonight was no different. From the opening tip-off until the final buzzer sounded, Rudy Gobert was the best player on the court, and he carried his team to a victory.
This was a win that the team needed. They needed a change in momentum while they’re out on a long road trip. Hopefully this will spur them into another stretch of dominant play.
The Jazz will next head to Washington D.C. to face Bradley Beal and the Wizards on Thursday.