by Daniel Olsen
It didn’t matter that the Utah Jazz were playing against one of the best defenses in the NBA. It didn’t matter that the Celtics were the best team in the East. It didn’t even matter that they were playing against stars like Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. The Jazz scored in bunches and staved off the Celtics with a 122-108 win.
The Jazz are now a perfect 5-0 in the month of February. They followed up their win on Super Bowl Sunday over the Indiana Pacers with their fourth double-digit victory this month.
The player of the game was Donovan Mitchell, and the TNT crew once again made sure to interview him after the game. It was a very positive conversation this time as they had matched their best start in franchise history (20-5) through 25 games. Mitchell has been a big part of that with an average of 23.5 points per game.
Mitchell had 36 points against Boston which matched his season high the last time he played on TNT. As always, Shaq was trying to take credit for Mitchell’s elevated play by saying that his criticism elevated Mitchell. The truth is, losing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets elevated Mitchell to new heights that nobody could have imagined. He also had a game high nine assists.
Joe Ingles also had a great night as he started again in the midst of Conley’s absence to nurse his hamstring tightness. Ingles had 24 points in the win.
Gobert recorded yet another double-double with 18 points and 12 boards. He ran the pick and roll perfectly as the Celtics defense collapsed on Mitchell, allowing him to slip the pass to Gobert for the dunk. Gobert also held true to his Stifle Tower nickname with three blocks.
Clarkson was once again the best player off the bench with 13 points. The bench otherwise struggled in this game as Niang, Favors and Oni combined for just six points.
The Jazz started out trailing by three after the first quarter and led by one after the second. There were eight lead changes that occurred mostly in the first half. In the third quarter the Jazz took the lead and kept it for good.
The Jazz will look to continue their historic run as they play three more home games before going on the road to play back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Clippers next week. While the Jazz have been spectacular, the games against the other top Western Conference teams in the two teams from Los Angeles will be a major test. They haven’t played the Lakers yet this season and have played the Clippers once. The Jazz lead the Clippers by three and the Lakers by one so far in the Western Conference standings.
• With the win, the Utah Jazz tied their best start in franchise history through 25 games. The last time they started a season 20-5 was in the 1996-1997 in which they won a franchise record 64 games.
• With the shortened 72-game season, the Jazz will win about 57 games if they continue at this winning percentage.
• Superstar Mitchell has combined for 72 points in his two games on TNT. With two blocks, a steal, nine assists and four rebounds, he affected the game in much more than just scoring last night.
• Mitchell scored seven points in 65 seconds near the end of the game. Before he caught fire, the Jazz were up just seven. He put them up by double digits for good after this scoring outburst.
• The Jazz are still undefeated this season when leading after the end of the third quarter. They led by 11 in this game after three.
• Of 84 field goal attempts, 48 were threes in this game. The Jazz are shooting a three on 41 percent of their attempts on average this season.
• In their last two games, the Jazz have rebounded 27 more times than their opponent. 28 of those boards have come by the guy who wears number 27 on his jersey.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images