The Utah Jazz 2018-19 season is officially under way. No more speculation, no more pre-season rankings/rumors/hot takes; just REAL ACTUAL BASKETBALL. After a full night’s worth of digestion from last night’s win over the Sacramento Kings, what are your thoughts? Here are five of mine:
This team is deeeeeeep. After starting out down 0-9 and off to a terrible start, Quin Snyder went to his bench looking for some sort of spark. He got it in Dante Exum. When Exum entered the game, the Jazz found themselves down 9-25 with just over four minutes left in the first quarter. Only a few seconds passed before Exum drilled a three, and it got the Jazz going. Jae Crowder and Alec Burks also contributed heavily in the first quarter, and the three of them (with Exum) combined for 17 of the Jazz’s 30 first-quarter points. This barrage from the Jazz bench was enough to overwhelm the Kings and get the W for the Jazz. Crowder, Burks, and Exum finished the game combining for 39 points shooting 6-10 from three, and it was awesome to see these guys come through for the Jazz and get an opening night win.
Jinglin’ Joe Ingles is a freakin’ treasure. Ingles carried the Jazz on his back for the first half, scoring 17 points on 7-8 shooting and a perfect 3-3 from three. Ingles would finish with 22 and four three-pointers, which is a record for Jazz opening games. The first points the Jazz scored this season were on a JOE INGLES DUNK, which is an excellent omen for a championship if you ask me.
Donovan Mitchell struggled early on in this game, missing his first four shots and going scoreless in the first quarter. But as we saw countless times last season, he gets buckets in a hurry. Mitchell finished with a game-high 24 points, and closed the game out strong with 11 points in the fourth quarter. Mitchell was clearly not satisfied with how he played last night, with the first word out of his mouth in the post-game interview being “terrible”. He looked a bit out of sync and seemed to be settling for outside shots and couldn’t convert. You would definitely want to see Mitchell get more efficient with his scoring, but there is no need to worry at all about a drop-off at this point. This guy still has game, and he is going to do great things this season.
As per usual, I was very impressed with Rudy Gobert last night. So much of what Gobert does goes unseen, but last night there was a lot of stuff that could definitely be seen. Gobzilla finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks, and had my favorite play of the night in this sweet alley-oop dunk.
There’s no alley-oops quite like Rudy alley-oops, and that rim rocking all over the place is a good indicator of that. Gobert has proven over and over again that he is the anchor of this team, and after having a great season-opener we should all look forward to many more of these this season.
Look at all these highlights! It makes me so happy to see actual basketball being played that counts in the win-loss columns. Here’s some more highlights from the Jazz win last night.