by Daniel Olsen
Right on the border of freezing temperature, snow melted as it hit the ground outside Vivint Arena. However, the game inside was a different story. There was a zero percent chance of any Heat melting the chance for a seventh straight victory for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz overcome a rough first quarter to win 112-94 over the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.
The Jazz started the game with an abysmal eight percent shooting percentage from three after the first quarter. However, they overcame the shooting woes by playing stingy defense that lead to quick and easy offensive plays.
Donovan Mitchell led the way with 26 points and arguably the play of the game. On the TV broadcast it was called the Morgan Diamond Jewelers play of the game when Jordan Clarkson made the assist. At the last second, he made a mid-air dump to Mitchell for an emphatic dunk.
The jury is still out on how this dunk will rank in comparison to Gobert’s poster over Giannis the night prior. Gobert had the number one play on SportsCenter Top Ten the night prior.
Gobert once again had a double double. It’s becoming an expectation at this point. He had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. He once again protected the paint from All-Star caliber players like Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
Royce O’Neale didn’t shoot the lights out, but he did a little of everything across the board. He finished the night with eight points, four assists, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks. He did most of his damage in the first three quarters of the game. One Jazz fan pointed out that he was close to joining some elite company with this stat line.
With 1,844 assists, Joe Ingles tied Pete Maravich for seventh on the all-time franchise list. A night after tying his career high of 27 points, Ingles cooled off with just eight this game. However, he found other ways to help the team win. He led the team with six assists on the night.
Georges Niang was the top sub of the game with 14 points off the bench. He made a team-high four three-point shots in six attempts. This was the first time time in a while that Jordan Clarkson wasn’t the top scorer off the bench. Clarkson finished with 11 points but continued his franchise record streak of over 50 games in a row with at least one three-pointer made since he started wearing a Jazz uniform.
Bojan Bogdanovic wasn’t on fire as he hit just 2-6 from three. However, he found ways to get to the rim. Great defense led to easy lay-up opportunities on the other end.
Jazz Game Notes:
• This is the second straight game in which the Jazz have beaten a team with an All-Star Center. Gobert beat the former MVP the previous night, and then Bam Adebayo in this game.
• The Jazz held their opponent to just 94 points, which is tied for the fewest points allowed since January 26, 2021 against the New York Knicks.
• The last time the Jazz lost on the second night of a back-to-back was against the New York Knicks. The fatigue factor isn’t affecting the Jazz with how well they are playing now.
• The Jazz are still 4-1 this season following a loss. Any losses they’ve had are few and far between.
• Mitchell is averaging a team-high 24.2 points per contest, which is good for sixth best in the NBA among shooting guards. He will be competing against Western Conference guys like Paul George and Devin Booker for the 2021 NBA All-Star game selection.
• This is the first time the Jazz has played a team from Florida this season. They will finish up this month with back-to-back games in the Sunshine State vs the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic respectively.
• The Jazz currently have six players scoring in double figures who combine to average 99.2 points-per-game. To put this in perspective, the Los Angeles Lakers have just five guys in double figures with a combined average of 86.8 points each game.
Featured image courtesy Deseret News