by Daniel Olsen
While some teams like to pace themselves, the Jazz are at their best when they start fast. Such was the case when the Jazz jumped out to an early double digit lead and never looked back in a 118-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Salt Lake City. While James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were all resting for Brooklyn, it was still a very impressive margin of victory for the Jazz.
Donovan Mitchell had the best offensive performance of the night with 27 points. This was done while playing just over one half of the game which makes the scoring rate even more impressive.
“The biggest thing was trying to be aggressive, get downhill, make plays, get on the rim and finish,” Mitchell said. “That was just my mindset from the jump.”
Mitchell was the only player on the Jazz to score more than 20 points. However, two starters and one player off the bench joined him with double-digit scoring nights. Mike Conley had an early scoring outburst that set the tone for the game. He scored 10 points in the first 4:21 of the game. The two combined to go 8-14 from three.
Bojan, who was very honest pre-game about his shooting struggles this year, showed that he was ready to put that narrative to bed. He had 18 points on the night and made four three-pointers in six tries. He was perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the night.
While Rudy Gobert had a quiet offensive night, it wasn’t due to a poor performance. The Jazz just kept feeding the hot hands. Rudy went about his business on the defensive end with 11 rebounds and three blocks. He did have eight points on the night.
Georges Niang was the best player off the bench with 15 points on the night. He was feeling it from three as all of his five shots were from downtown. All but one of his nine attempts were from beyond the arc. While the bench was quiet otherwise, everyone except Trent Forrest and Ersan Ilyasova put up points.
While Jordan Clarkson struggled mightily with only one shot made in 15 attempts, he still kept his streak going. Since his one bucket was a three, he has now made at least one shot from downtown in 69 straight games.
With the win, the Jazz earned a split in the series with the Nets. They have yet to be swept by an Eastern Conference team or any team for that matter. Since they’ve only lost 11 games, it’s hard to lose to the same team more than once.
The Jazz will take Thursday off before returning to Vivint Arena on Friday night to take on the Memphis Grizzlies on the first night of a doubleheader. The game will be broadcast at 7 PM Mountain Time on local stations. The Grizzlies are fighting for a playoff spot at just a game behind the Spurs for the eight seed. The Jazz are three games ahead of Phoenix for the best record in the Western Conference.
• Mike Coney and Donovan Mitchell outscored the entire Nets team 23-17 in first quarter.
• The Jazz have won 17 straight home games. Their longest win streak in games played in Salt Lake City is 20 between the end of the 1998 and start of the 1999 season. They can tie that stretch if they win the rest of their games on this home stand.
• The Jazz won by 30 points which is the largest margin of victory since they beat the Cavaliers by 30 on January 12, 2021.
• The Jazz more than doubled the output of the Nets with a 38-17 advantage after the first quarter.
• While the Jazz won by 30 they did also lose to this same Nets team in Brooklyn by 34 points back in January.
• The Jazz did their damage once again from downtown. While they were outscored 50-30 in the paint, they made 23 threes compared to just seven made by the Nets.
• Donovan Mitchell averaged one point per minute he was in the game. That is the best rate of any starter on the night.
Featured image courtesy Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune