Just like we all expected, the Utah Jazz close out a tough game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime and now have the #1 record in the NBA at 2-0.
The story going into this one was it was the first time Rudy Gobert would face his former team but in a Timberwolves jersey. It was an interesting reunion and the Jazz were obviously prepared for it. From a Jazz fan’s point of view it was pretty fascinating. Utah did everything they could to stretch him away from the basket and it worked.
DO YOU WANT TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION OR NAH pic.twitter.com/bnal7pAExj— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) October 22, 2022
Where have we seen that before!? The also did a great job of keeping Gobert out of rhythm offensively by keeping him from getting the ball on the roll and forcing ball handlers to beat them.
It’s a formula that worked for other teams in the playoffs and the Jazz used it tonight. We shouldn’t be surprised, who would know better how to do that than the Jazz themselves?
For the Jazz we’re starting to see some players shine. Speaking of Lauri Markkanen, he continues to impress. Tonight he was 10/23 from the field for 24 points. He hit just 2/10 from three so he might have had an even bigger night had his 3-ball been falling. He also grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. Markannen is starting to really flourish and it looks like his excellent play in Eurobasket is carrying over. Can he continue this level of play? If he can, the Jazz may be looking at a much different season than we expected.
Oh, and this happened.
Interesting how the Jazz are utilizing Lauri Markkanen.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 22, 2022
He's all over in the half court as a handler and screener. And bringing the ball up the floor after rebounds too.
24 points tonight vs. Minnesota after 17 vs. Denver
One of the key reasons the Jazz are off to a 2-0 start. pic.twitter.com/8PM6m2v2wi
Jarred Vanderbilt is starting to make a case for the NBA All-DefensiveTeam. Vanderbilt was all over the place tonight on the defensive end. Whether it was clogging lanes and getting steals (4), or having a knack for being in the right place at the right time (13 rebounds), he looks like a modern version of Dennis Rodman with his intense energy and defense. Oh and this was all in 24 minutes. That is going to be one of the big things for Vanderbilt to improve on is his ability to stay out of foul trouble. He fouled out of the Jazz’s first game and ended this one with 5. The more he can stay on the floor, the more he will impact the game. That will be hard because Vanderbilt plays with incredible energy and intensity and is constantly flying around. Perhaps if he gains a bigger reputation, the officials won’t be so ticky-tack with their calls.
Finally, the other difference maker for this team is Mike Conley. He led the team in plus-minus and it’s not surprising. He’s had a great start to the season and is managing the game at an elite level. Tonight he ended the game with 11 assists. His presence on the floor makes everyone better and as long as he’s on the Jazz, expect them to have an impressive offense. Right now, they’re ranked #3 in the NBA and you can attribute a lot of that to Mike Conley.