A few hours before tonight’s game between the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets began, word came that James Harden would not play. All-Star teammates Kevin Durant and kyrie Irving had previously been ruled out for the game as well. That meant that the Utah Jazz were hosting a very different team than the Nets would normally be. This was a game Utah would be expected to win with ease.
The first quarter began with a scoring onslaught from Utah’s All-Star backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. That helped the Jazz begin a lead that they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the game.
The Jazz won the first quarter 38-17, and went on to win each quarter of the game, slowly expanding their lead.
Jordan Clarkson struggled mightily from the floor today, hitting only one of his 15 shots. He’s been in a slump for a couple of weeks now, so let’s hope he can regain his rhythm soon. Despite the poor outside shooting of Clarkson, and Joe Ingles surprisingly only going one for six, the Jazz as a whole shot 41% from deep. They made 23 of 55 attempts from beyond the arc, and that was just too much for the Nets to combat.
Donovan Mitchell continued his hot shooting tonight. He put up an effortless 27 points on only 18 shots, including 5-8 from three. Mitchell has been looking like a superstar in recent games, just controlling the game on offense.
The second and third quarters brought a much-welcomed sight for Jazz fans. Bojan Bogdanovic was hitting shots, playing with confidence, and helping the team. He’s looked to be in his head at times this season, and so it was very refreshing to see him catch the ball, pump fake, side step, and drain a three. Bogdanovic finished the game with 18 points on 5-8 shooting. When he has confidence and rhythm, he is deadly.
Most of the second half was on cruise-control for the Jazz. Their lead was hovering around 30 points, and it wasn’t going anywhere. Quin Snyder emptied his bench early in the 4th, and fans got to see the young guys get some extended run.
The Jazz took care of business. This was a scheduled win, but Jazz fans know that an injury-depleted team can still cause problems. Fortunately, this Jazz team is better than Jazz teams of past years. They went out there from the beginning of the game and did what they needed to do. This game was over in the first quarter.
Honorable mentions to Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert, and Georges Niang, but this one goes to Donovan Mitchell.
Number 45 looked un-guardable tonight. Despite only playing 27 minutes, Mitchell put up 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and zero turnovers. He was a plus 38 on the game. THIRTY-EIGHT. Over the last few games, Mitchell has played at a higher level than normal. Instead of getting ahead of himself and trying to make difficult plays, he is reading the game, finding his spots, and making defenses pay for being out of place. This is the Donovan Mitchell that can lead the Utah Jazz on a deep playoff run.
The Jazz next game will be against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. On to the next one.