The Utah Jazz (45-29) defeated the New Orleans Pelicans (31-43) tonight on international TV (thanks TNT, but no thanks on the Player’s only gimmick) 108-100. This game shouldn’t have been this close but both teams were missing key players. All-Star bigman DeMarcus Cousins was out with injury, as were All-Star forward Gordon Hayward, and a third 2010 NBA Draft lotto pick Derrick Favors. Alec Burks was also out with a personal matter, the birth of his first child.
With so many players out the game became a little more simplified with fewer variables at play. Anthony Davis vs. Rudy Gobert. And man, these big guys both had huge games.
The Pelicans had no business being in this game, but Davis, taking and making a lot of jumpers, kept them in it. He was shut down in the paint early and often by Gobert so I’d take jumpers all night if I was him too!
He just kept making jumpers, and getting an assist from the refs who kept sending him to the line on very weak fouls. Davis went to the 14 times on the road, compared to 18 total attempts by the home team Jazz. He was fantastic in keeping Rudy off the glass, and vice versa. Davis had one offensive rebound, and Gobert two.
Gobert did have the last laugh with the win, but he had lots to laugh about as he finished with 20 points, 19 rebounds, 5 blocks, 1 assist, and 1 steal. The bigger story will be Davis’ 36 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Anthony did miss as many shots in this game as Rudy took (11).
But I guess Gobert / Davis is the game within the game. As for the actual game we saw George Hill, Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood, and Joe Johnson all step up bigtime. Hill finished with 17 points (3/6 from downtown), Ingles finished with 19 points (5/5 from downtown), Hood finished with 20 points (4/7 from downtown), and Johnson finished with 14 points off the bench (2/3 from downtown). As a whole team the Jazz shot 15/27 from outside, and making 55.6% of your long bombs can demoralize a team that did, to their credit, fight back to take a 2 point lead in the second half.
However, these Jazz shooters just kept making these late in the shot clock back-breakers. It’s nice to be the one giving them out instead of taking them for once.
This was a team win, especially since Quin Snyder had to go deep into his bench because three rotation guys were out. We did get to see Dante Exum (24 minutes), Trey Lyles (4 minutes), and Shelvin Mack (3 minutes) in this game. Crazy!
Utah was up by nearly double digits for most of the game, and there were some runs by both teams, but nothing to get worked up about. Unless we’re talking about Jeff Withey having a revenge game against his old club.
That’s always fun - he finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and an impressive +13 in +/- in just 8 minutes of action.
Utah has the next night off, and don’t play again until they see the Sacramento Kings in Sactown on Wednesday. Hopefully by then some more guys will be healthy enough to play. Good win without Gordon. Now guys have to rest up and be ready for the next one. The schedule only gets harder and harder.