Game Ball goes to: Rudy “Go-Board” Gobert
Why? Rudy might not lead the team in scoring most nights but he sure has an impact on his team’s winning percentage. Rudy recorded his fifth straight double double with 16 points and 20 rebounds. Five of those rebounds were on the offensive end. He also had some high flying dunks including a received alley-oop in the fourth quarter that really got fans on their feet. The “French Rejection” also had two swats.
Take this stat into account as well: the Jazz were +25 in the 37 minutes with Rudy on the court. That was an impressive game high. This is why Rudy is a top 10 MVP candidate. You can argue that his defensive impact adds more wins to his team than the offensive stars that are so often the front runners of the postseason awards. Rudy has been awarded for his defense with 2 DPOY awards to and you can see why he without a doubt deserves the All-Star bid he got for the first time this season.
Other Noteworthy Players: You can also make the case that tonight’s game ball could go to one of these other 3:
1. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring with 26 points and also chipped in 5 rebounds and four assists. Donovan seemed to take a back seat when the Jazz were on that rough losing streak but he has his swagger back. He wasn’t perfect as he needs to cut down his turnovers (3 tonight). He is the number one scoring threat on the Jazz and that is why he was in serious consideration for the game ball.
2. Bojan Bogdanovic: Bojan is still the clutch hero we remember him as on Sunday. It’s ironic that although he has scored more than on Sunday, he hasn’t received a game ball only because he’s been out scored and a game winner trumps high scoring nights no matter how much you struggle before the final shot. Bojan had 22 points and shot 50% from the three point line which was almost as high as his total field goal percentage.
3. Jordan Clarkson: The 6th man, fresh off winning the game ball in the last game, was a spark plug off the bench again with 21 points. He also had 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
It’s amazing that the Jazz can have three players score over 20 points in a game. That is what elite scoring teams such as the Miami Heat did back when LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were winning championships. It’s even more impressive that one of those guys is Jordan Clarkson off the bench. It is very helpful for his team as Mike Conley took the night off due to an illness.