From the first whistle, the Utah Jazz came out looking like the dominant force they were early in the season.
The Jazz offense, powered by huge performances from Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic, was a buzzsaw. Utah torched the Spurs with 55% shooting from the field and 43% shooting from three.
Bojan Bogdanovic has been a revelation the last month. Tonight was no exception with Bogdanovic scoring 24 points in just 25 minutes shooting 10/13 from the field and 3⁄4 from three. This is where we insert the fire emoji.
Jordan Clarkson was also huge. Clarkson’s hot shooting was back as he shot 12/16 from the field and 2/4 from three. The combined numbers of Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic are pretty ridiculous. Clarkson looked more comfortable going to the hoop again but also shared the ball very effectively. The pass is becoming a big part of Clarkson’s game, enough that he’s now able to use Ingles-like ball fakes to get some space. If Clarkson can continue this play, as well as Bogdanovic, the Jazz are going to be a well-oiled machine come playoff time.
Of course we also have to talk about Rudy Gobert. While the Jazz shot incredibly well from the field, the Spurs were the opposite. San Antonio shot 40% from the field and 30% from three. A major portion of this can be attributed to Rudy Gobert. Jakob Poeltl was a -18 with just 8 points and 4 rebounds. Gobert on the other hand, who only played 21 minutes had 10 points and 8 rebounds and was a +31 for the game. Everything he does while he’s on the floor leads to wins and tonight was no exception.
It’s also time to start the Trent Forrest fan club. I wasn’t completely sure about Forrest when he started, and he still isn’t a 3-point threat, but he has a real control of the ball and can hit shots going to the rim. He’s also shown a very nice ability to run the pick and roll and hit open shooters and big men. The other thing that is very nice is his ability to defend. He’s now had multiple nights where his defense has been a game changer. We may be looking at another undrafted player that will look like a Jazz steal as time goes on.
Player of the game
For all the great shooting and performances by Bogdanovic and Clarkson, the player of the game is probably Joe Ingles. Ingles was masterful again tonight with a team leading +34. Ingles was 5/11 from the field and 3/8 from three for 14 points with 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Ingles is easily one of the most underappreciated players in the league and is going to be a major reason the Utah Jazz make a deep run in the playoffs.
This team right now has found their chemistry without Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchel. I can’t help but think of the movie Cinderella Man, when James Braddock injure his hand and it forces him to evolve. Perhaps this team is ready for its own Cinderella run with the role players finding their rhythm right before the big fight is about to happen.