Tonight, the Utah Jazz won a basketball game with a final score of 112-89.
This was obviously not much of a surprise because the Utah Jazz are a good basketball team and the Houston Rockets are a not-so-good basketball team. To be brutally honest, the Houston Rockets are so bad that out of active players on their roster tonight, I think that Christian Wood would be the only guy get rotation minutes on the Utah Jazz.
Still, that doesn’t mean that everything that happened in tonight’s game can’t be evaluated and learned from.
For one, I think tonight was a perfect example of how Bojan Bogdanovic needs to try and gather himself if he misses a couple shots early in a game. He ended the night with an unremarkable 14 points on 4-13 shooting and very clearly had a couple stretches where he was forcing the issue in an unproductive way. In a recent Downbeat Tavan wrote, he mentioned that part of Bogdanovic’s recent success has come from an uptick in his confidence with the ball. For Bogdanovic, a major marker in whether or not he is playing with confidence is if he attacks the basket looking to score rather than looking to draw a foul. Tonight, it was evident that the latter was happening.
When it comes to positives, one interesting thing I noticed was that Joe Ingles is actually really good at basketball. Look at this play he made:
At this point, I think we writers at SLC Dunk are running out of synonyms for “on fire” to use for Ingles. Tonight, we will use “incendious”, as he ended the game with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists on 7-11 shooting. It has been an absolute joy to watch Joe Ingles put on a career year and this kind of play in the playoffs will be integral in Utah’s success.
Who else could have possibly gotten this award? This season, we might as well rename “Game MVP” to “what did Rudy do tonight?” He ended the game with 19 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a plus-minus of plus-44. Although this plus-minus figure was beaten out by Mike Conley’s even more impressive figure of plus-46, Gobert was, to no surprise, everywhere on the court. He disrupted shot after shot, helping keep Houston 37% shooting from the field. At this point, I think even we as Jazz fans can get numb to how much of an impact he has on games. As we near the close of the season, all we can hope for is that these performances by Rudy and the rest of the crew can continue into the post-season.