Without several key players, the Jazz took on a completely depleted OKC team at Vivint Arena Tuesday night with hopes of starting a new winning streak after their 24-game home winning streak was snapped last night. After the first quarter tonight, it was started to look like things were going to be much more difficult than the matchup appeared on paper.
Lu Dort came out with a fire under his you know what right out of the gates. The defensive specialist dropped 19 in the first quarter on a couple three balls, and the Jazz got down 31-14 at one point. This was one of those moments in bad games where you are like “REALLY???”. Obviously the Jazz were without Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, and Jordan Clarkson, but they still had three all-stars out on the floor during this time when they were getting man-handled. The Jazz entered the second quarter down 9, looking for someone to get them back into the game. Instead of coming from one individual player, it came from every single one of them. Towards the end of the first half, the Jazz made a surge behind Donovan Mitchell, George Niang, and Bojan Bogdanovic. They climbed all the way back and took a two-point lead into the break, and things started looking more like normal.
The second half was decided in about four minutes, when the Jazz opened the half on a 12-0 run and built their lead to 15 points. Again, this was a balanced run lead by Gobert, Conley, Mitchell and Bogdanovic, and the Jazz just overpowered the Thunder in the third.
OKC was held to 16 points in the quarter, and the game was pretty much decided after that. The Thunder did make things interesting by ripping of a 19-2 run in final minutes of the fourth to cut the lead to 7, but their fate was already sealed with an L.
At some points tonight the Jazz offense was scoring with ease. The balanced attack was a beautiful thing to see, especially with how much they have been relying on Donovan Mitchell offensively lately. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 23 points on 6-14 shooting, Mitchell scored 22, Niang 18 (career-high 10 rebounds), Conley with a funky 15 point, 14 assist night. Rudy flexed his DPOY muscles with a vintage Gobzilla stat line of 12-13-7 blocks.
Jarrell Brantley made the most of his minutes in this game and scored a career-high 10 points on 4-5 shooting, including 2-3 from deep. It was fun to see Brantley get some minutes, and honestly it looked very promising seeing him be able to knock down shots from range.
It wasn’t the sexiest of wins tonight, but in the NBA you take very single one of ‘em.