In Donovan Mitchell’s return to the lineup, after taking a game off after the scary plane incident, the Jazz looked a little slow on both ends of the floor.
Utah’s transition defense was lacking at times and it led to multiple transition buckets for the Chicago Bulls which gave them some easy buckets. Thaddeus Young was probably the biggest reason the Bulls had a chance in this one. Young Bullied the Jazz inside scoring 11/17 from the field for 25 points with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
It’s an interesting lineup for the Bulls with a stretch center in Nikola Vucevic with an old school power forward in Thaddeus Young who bullies people inside. Vucevic’s 3-point shot wasn’t falling tonight (1/5) but you can see how that’s an interesting lineup for the Bulls as they move forward and when Vucevic finds his footing in that offense, they have a chance to be really interesting. Tonight, because the three for the Bulls wasn’t falling (The Bulls shot 7/28 overall from 3) the Jazz were able to win this relatively easily even on a night that their shot wasn’t falling.
For the Jazz, probably the most welcome sight was Bojan Bogdanovic’s ability to take advantage of mismatches in side. Bogdanovic’s most important shot should always be the three point shot, but tonight he had multiple plays where he would make a post play against a smaller defender and it was very effective. For the game Bogdanovic shot a solid 8/15 from the field. He was just 1 of 4 from three, and he needs to keep his three point attempts around 10 a game, but it’s nice to see Bogdanovic seemingly getting more confidnce as the season rolls on.
Donovan Mitchell seemed a little off in this game at times. For the night he was 7/21 from the field and just 2/9 from three. But he made enough big buckets that it helped put the Jazz over the top. Mitchell also threw down a dunk that ratlled the arena and reminded us that he can get up there with anyone in the league.
What’s exciting about Mitchell’s progression is that on a sub par shooting night for Mitchell’s standards, Mitchell is finding a way to be efficient by getting to the line. Mitchell was fantastic again tonight getting to the line and shot a perfect 10/10. More and more Mitchell is figuring out how to draw those fouls and it’s making him an even more lethal player and bodes very well for the playoffs.
It’s incredible how Rudy Gobert keeps the Jazz in every single game. No matter what team the Jazz are playing, Gobert keeps the Jazz in it. The Jazz will rarely get blown out because Gobert just simply doesn’t allow it. Tonight was a perfect example. Utah just did not have a lot of juice for a lot of this game but Gobert’s presence keeps them in it so that when they eventually string together a run, it’s enough to win.
Rudy Gobert impacts basketball games as much as any player in the league. It’s not in the same flashy ways as the shooting from Damian Lillard and Steph Curry, or the overpowering physical prowess and skill of the LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. But Gobert’s combination of insane physical tools, quickness, athleticism and fanatical competitiveness makes him just as unique and dominant as any of those guys. The nationals may never notice it, unless Gobert dominates in these upcoming playoffs, but Jazz fans get the pleasure of seeing it every game. It’s something to never take for granted. Players like this don’t come around very often, especially in Utah.