The Thunder were missing 8 players but still had Shai Gilgeous-Alexander playing and he was great for them scoring 33 points with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. SGA is an elite player that can score at three levels. The 3-point shot isn’t falling at a high level for him this year but he can do just about anything else he wants on the court. He’s a core piece for the Thunder to build around for years.
For the Jazz, Bojan Bogdanovic was the story tonight hitting a franchise-record 11 threes! For the night Bogdanovic was 11/19 from the field and 11/18 from three. It’s actually the first time in NBA history that an NBA player has made 11 shots with all of them being 3-pointers.
Bojan Bogdanovic is the first player in NBA history to make 11 shots in a game, all of which are 3-pointers. pic.twitter.com/mMunWt4u2h— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 7, 2022
It’s nice to see Bogdanovic bounce back after a horrible shooting night in the Jazz’s last game against the Pelicans. If the Jazz want to go anywhere this postseason, they need Bogdanovic to have shooting nights like this.
It’s time to talk about how good Donovan Mitchell has become as a playmaker this season. In the last three games, two of them he’s had 10 assists. It’s remarkable the development from Mitchell every single season. Each year he adds a wrinkle to his game and this might be the most important one. Mitchell’s ability to score at all three levels is what makes him a star, adding this ability to playmaker for others is what will win playoff series.
Finally, Rudy Gobert was great in this one as well with 12 points and 17 boards on 62.5% shooting. As always, the defense was great. But we need to talk about the offense. It was clear that the Jazz made an effort to get Gobert the ball in the paint to do damage inside, and it was not effective. I counted about 6 times the Jazz got the ball to Rudy in the paint either for post touches and a couple of transition opportunities. Of those 6 times, Gobert scored once on a post-move. The other 5 he was either blocked or the ball was stolen. And tonight was against a tanking OKC team resting 8 of their players. At some point, the Jazz, or maybe just the fans and media, have to accept that Rudy Gobert is not much of a threat when it comes to entry passes in the paint. It’s interesting that despite struggling to score on entry passes, Gobert was still 5/8 from the field with almost all of his buckets as offensive putbacks. That’s amazing efficiency! Does this mean that Rudy Gobert should never get entry passes in the paint? No. If the opening is there, get it to him. But even then it’s not a sure thing. Gobert struggled to even get shots up tonight against a lot of non-NBA players. All this really means is that Utah needs to stick to what works with Gobert and that is the pick and roll and having Gobert go hard for offensive rebounds. Gobert is an elite pick and roll big man. Whether it’s setting picks that open up pull-up threes, rolling to the rim and creating gravity for the ballhandler to score, or catching a lob and dunking, Gobert is great in the pick and roll. Not only that, Gobert has also grown as a passer and regularly kicks out to open shooters in the corner. Gobert is a dominant player in the league, the Jazz just have to stop forcing something that just isn’t there.
All in all, it was a good night for the Utah Jazz who bounced back after a terrible loss. They’ll need to dig deep as they have a back-to-back and are playing tomorrow. Can they keep this momentum?