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A tale of two Joe Ingles

The UtahJazz’s Slow-mo Joe hasn’t been so slow recently

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Joe Ingles drew a lot of attention for his 20 point performance against the Golden State Warriors which included shooting 6-8 on 3-pointers. Fellow SB Nation blog Golden State of Mind handed out some praise for the “Australian Assassin.”

Joe Ingles was on full display on Tuesday night, facing a flurry of former MVPs, All-Stars, and defensive stalwarts. Currently, he is a having a career year, averaging a scorching 9.8 points a game and shooting 45% from three-point range (coming into last night’s game).

Last night, Ingles poured in 20 points on six-of-eight from three-point range and boasted a plus-minus of +26. This was just one point short of his career high. With a performance like this against the NBA’s best, the Joe Ingles-for-MVP conversation has begun.

Could he propel the Utah Jazz into the playoffs and into the NBA Finals?

Though those last two sentences were written with sarcasm or while completely drunk, the solid play of Ingles, especially of late, has been a godsend for this team. Especially after Ingles appeared to be getting zoned out of the offense in terms of scoring.

Midway through January, if you looked at the month-by-month breakdown for Jingling Joe, he showed a clear drop in scoring and in all shooting percentage categories. A very worrying thing for a player being paid north of $14 million.

His low-point came against the Pacers on Jan. 15 where he logged 20 minutes and went just 0-1 from the field and was -20. In the 30 days prior and including that game, Ingles scored just 6.9 points per game, shooting 39.4 percent from the field and making just 29.5 percent of his 3-point shots.

But the last seven games of January, Ingles completely flipped the script. He has been on a roll, scoring 13.7 points while shooting 55.8 percent from deep and 57.4 overall. He’s also scored 20+ points twice in the last five games. Before that, he had only scored more than 20 point on two occasions his whole NBA career.

Perhaps it’s no wonder the Jazz are 6-2 in the latter stretch of games with an average point differential of +6.9.

Speaking a little bit about the Warriors, their oft-ridiculed journeyman center JaVale McGee apparently has a sense of humor.

It’s far from a hot take to say the Jazz have had a rough schedule in the first half of the season. But according to Basketball Reference’s strength of schedule metric, Utah has had the hardest of them all.

You can follow the link, which will take you to the full breakdown and numbers but here’s the top 10 in terms of hardest.

  1. Utah Jazz
  2. Dallas Mavericks
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Memphis Grizzlies
  6. Chicago Bulls
  7. Detroit Pistons
  8. Charlotte Hornets
  9. Sacramento Kings
  10. Golden State Warriors

I’m not the first to say this, nor will I be the last, but the Jazz are lucky to be where they’re at right now considering their schedule and injuries.

Donovan Mitchell has been a mischievous little rookie, giving teammates doing interviews an early shower on multiple occasions. Here he is at work after the win against Golden State.

Other players around the league have begun to do the same thing. Blake Griffin, following his debut with the Detroit Pistons, received the gift of cleanliness from a couple of his new teammates.

Don’t people say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

For those curious about the state of Utah Jazz salaries and contracts, David J. Smith broke it down nicely in this Twitter thread, hitting most the important notes.

To sum it up, the Jazz have played their cards fairly well. They have no really bad contracts and have the flexibility to fill out their roster around their core pieces in the coming years.