In Donovan Mitchell’s homecoming, he put on a show leading the Utah Jazz to a 108-93 win over the New York Knicks.
It’s hard to understate how good Mitchell was in this one. With Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic out, the playmaking and scoring responsibilities were squarely on Mitchell and he was up to the task. Not only did he score a hyper-efficient 36 on 52% shooting from the field and 58% from three (7/12!) he dished out 6 assists and grabbed 8 rebounds. When you consider the Jazz were playing newly acquired Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Juancho Hernangomez in the starting lineup, that’s some superstar-level play.
It wasn’t just Mitchell who had a great scoring night. Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points on 55% shooting from the field. Clarkson was masterful with the ball tonight finding openings to get his patented floater that he hits at such a high level. Tonight, Clarkson shot 10/18 from the field. The 3-point shot has just not been there consistently this season but since February Clarkson is shooting around 47% from the field. The more he gets to the rim, the better. Clarkson has incredible touch and it was on display tonight as he showed the 6th man ability from last season.
He didn’t have the biggest numbers, but Rudy Gobert was great tonight helping on both ends of the floor. Whether it’s getting 4 blocks and protecting the paint or opening the floor for ball handlers with big screens, Gobert helps you win every night on both ends of the floor. But it wasn’t just Gobert on the defensive end tonight that made a difference. With Bogdanovic out the Jazz have gone with Hernangomez for multiple nights and he’s provided a lot of things the Jazz have lacked. Hernangomez is big, long and athletic and brings some weakside shot-blocking ability as well as another rebounder on the floor. You can also see how his length and athleticism creates deflections and closes lanes to the rim. It’s not a coincidence that the Jazz were able to hold the Knicks to just 93 points tonight. Combine that with the length of Nickeil Alexander-Walker and you can see how this team might want to evolve for the future.
All in all it was a nice win for the Jazz who don’t have a lot of time for rest as they prepare for Kevin Durant and Brooklyn tomorrow.