It’s been what feels like an eternity since we last watched the Utah Jazz take the floor in a live televised game. Tonight that changes with the Jazz taking the floor in a scrimmage game against the Phoenix suns in the Orlando bubble. The Jazz-Suns game will be the fourth of four games in today’s slate of NBA scrimmage games, with it coming at 6:00 MST. ATT Sports will be broadcasting the game, which means that WE HAVE LIVE JAZZ BASKETBALL ON TV TONIGHT BABY. This is a pretty big deal. Here’s what to watch for as the Jazz take the floor for the first time in a game inside the bubble.
In watching the NBA scrimmage games yesterday, there is a very different feel. It’s definitely strange watching the highest league of professional basketball being played in a empty gym with no fans. It might take a while to get used to just watching this, so you can imagine how hard it will probably be for the players to get used to playing in this new setting. The NBA is an extremely unique sport because of the proximity that the gameplay and fans have with the play on court, and the players themselves. Some players feed off of that energy, whether it’s their home or away court, and it propels them in their games. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz players respond to playing in an fanless arena, and how it might change their energy on the court. Will we still get the Rudy flexes? Or the Donovan claps? Will Joe Ingles do his signature wave or kiss of death to an imaginary hater in the hypothetical stands? Who will be the first player to release a loud f-bomb that get’s picked up on broadcast Audio? I’m going with Donovan Mitchell.
Here’s some highlights from yesterday’s scrimmages inside the bubble, so you can get an idea of what to expect in the Jazz game tonight:
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell
The thing that most Jazz fans will be keeping an eye on during these initial games is the communication and body language between Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. They’ve both come out and said they are “good” and want to focus on just playing games and winning. It will be interesting to see if they get frustrated with one another or if they high-five as much as anyone else. Their relationship on the court is definitely going to be under a national microscope, even in a scrimmage game. Hopefully once they get back out on the court and get playing competitive basketball, they realize that they actually love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives playing together in Utah and win so many championships that they run out of fingers to wear their rings on. Dreaming big here.
The one negative part about the Jazz coming back to finish the season, is they will do so without their marksman and clutch-bucket-getter in Bojan Bogdanovic. How will the Jazz compensate for the loss of the best shooter on the team? Who will step up in his absence? Bogdanovic made a habit this season in bailing the Jazz out of tough situations on offense. His 20 points per game will need to be replaced elsewhere, which is definitely a huge blow to the Jazz on offense. Who will the Jazz go to on the inbound play with seconds left in the game?? No one quite does it like Bojan Bogdanovic.
Is Jordan Clarkson about to drop a 40-piece in the scrimmage game tonight? He would.
Resurgence of Mike Conley
If the Jazz are going to make any noise in the bubble, Mike Conley is going to need to get back to his old Memphis Mike ways. Especially without Bojan Bogdanovic, the Jazz will need everything that Mike Conley can give them, especially offensively. He’ll need to get going early, and hopefully tonight he shows us some signs that he’s back to his old ways. He will need to do so without his awesome long hair, which he chopped off during the quarantine (sad day).
Hopefully we get this playoff Mike Conley:
If we’re being real here, things might look a little ugly tonight in the Jazz’s first organized game of basketball in over four months. Pre-season games are usually a little ugly, and that’s after guys have been training and working out over the entire summer. The majority of NBA players didn’t play much basketball, if any, during quarantine and lockdown since March, and just started back up a few weeks ago in the bubble. There’s going to be a lot of patience necessary for NBA fans as we get through this bubble basketball championship. But one thing is for sure, and that life is always better when we have basketball.