Surprise, Surprise. Turns out Rudy Gobert is really, really good. Tonight, Gobert dominated the Nuggets on both ends of the floor creating space for shooters on offense and doing that work himself inside. For the game, Gobert was a +36 in the Jazz’s 125-102 win over the Denver Nuggets.
That’s right, +36. PLUS THIRTY-SIX.
Gobert receives all sorts of hate from national media, twitter warriors, and other players. And all he did was dominate the league MVP, Nikola Jokic tonight. In the first half he was doing what he always does. He created highways to the rim for shooters and space at the line for the Jazz shooters. He also finished inside at a huge clip. For the game he was 7/7 from the field. That’s some serious efficiency. On defense, he was the best defensive player in the game again. Dominating inside and out. The Jokic/Gobert battle is always fun. It felt like Gobert was getting a lot of what he wanted, and he did going 7/7 with 19 rebounds, but Jokic finished with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 14 rebounds. Jokic is unreal and the matchup with Gobert is always a fun show. With how well Jokic played, he had some serious frustrations with Gobert inside. At one point he knocked Gobert to the floor in frustration. This matchup the win goes to Gobert, but this is not the last time these two will go at it. Until next time.
It wasn’t just Rudy Gobert for the Jazz that played well. Donovan Mitchell scored 31 in this one. For most of the game Mitchell’s struggled from three again but he found the stroke in the fourth helping pull away from the Nuggets late. When Mitchell is firing on all cylinders on offense, and Gobert is doing his thing on both ends, this Jazz team are one of the best teams in the league.
The Jazz also got some very nice minutes from Bojan Bogdanovic. His ability to post up and punish mismatches is a serious weapon. For the game Bogdanovic shot 8/15 from the field. But the best part was that so many of them were shots he created for himself in the post against mismatches. It’s a great sign for the playoffs that Bogdanovic can take advantage of smaller players in the playoffs.
And even as nice as a win as this was, it’s clear that the Jazz have some upgrading to do. The defensive effort to night was palpably better, but it’s just not there yet. Denver is missing Michael Porter Jr. and the dreaded Jamal Murray. They are missing some major firepower.
Regardless, it’s a nice win for the Jazz and something they can build off of for the futre.