by Daniel Olsen
While the Jazz had a horrendous 21 turnovers on the night, they scored 29 points off of the ten Raptors turnovers. Transition threes are a real thing in the 2021 Jazz offense. Bojan Bogdanovic was the best player of the game as he scored a season high 34 points on the night. Jordan Clarkson was the best sub of the game with 15 points. The bench wasn’t used as heavily as the past two games, but they still had 32 points total in their time on the floor.
The Jazz had a strong start offensively. The Raptors weren’t just going to go quietly into the night. Toronto answered every attempt with tenacity of their own. They took advantage of the Jazz being a bit tired on the second end of a back-to-back. Until the end of the first quarter, the Jazz weren’t fighting back against those dinosaurs.
With a second left in this first frame, Clarkson fought back. He didn’t make them go extinct yet, but he did make the Raptors an endangered species with a one-hand poster jam over Freddie Gillespie. At this point, the quarter seemed to be over. However, Gobert fouled Deandre’ Bembry on a last second three-point attempt. He got a hand on the ball. After reviewing, the refs determined he also got a piece of the arm before the buzzer sounded. The Raptors made two of three free throws and went ahead 33-29 at the end of the first quarter.
Malachi Flynn, rookie star out of San Diego State, was a thorn in the side of the Jazz early and often. He got the offense going early in the second quarter by using his speed to attack the basket. At the last second, he dished it to Khem Birch for the score. It was a pace the Jazz weren’t able to match and they called a timeout a few minutes into the quarter. At this point, they were down 33-41.
Once again, Ingles came to the rescue and drilled a three-pointer. His shot has caught fire this season. It is almost as if he has caught lightning in a bottle. Clarkson struggled with several airball shots near the end of the first half. Perhaps he caught the David Locke BINGO curse. Once again, the radio voice of the Jazz offered Jazz tickets to whoever tweeted at him when the BINGO moment of the night happened. This night it was the next Clarkson basket. It finally occurred near the end of the second quarter. The Jazz went into halftime down by six.
The Jazz kept rolling along and it was all thanks to the hot hand of Bogdanovic. His shooting ability pulled the defense out to him just enough to dish a quick pass to Gobert for a dunk to start the quarter. A minute later, he took the ball to the hole for an easy two points of his own. Whether it’s hitting threes, making smart passes or sacrificing his body at the rim, Bogdanovic has improved his play throughout the season. In a year when he struggled at first, now is the time for him to play this well at a consistent rate if the Jazz are going to advance far in the playoffs.
While it is disappointing to forego fourth quarter garbage minutes segment, it was nice to see Jazz players get experience playing clutch minutes. This game went down to the wire. With less than a minute to go, the Jazz found themselves up by three on several occasions. Luckily for them, the Raptors missed just enough shots and the game was able to be iced by Jazz free throws. Gobert also made a clutch play as he tipped a missed Clarkson jumper back in to go up by five with 24 seconds left.
Drawing up the next Game Plan
The Jazz will get a day of rest before hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Monday at 8 PM Mountain Time. They will also be playing on NBA TV against the Spurs on Wednesday. That game will start at 7 PM Mountain Time. The Jazz still are tied with the Phoenix Suns on the season. With a loss to the Nuggets, the Clippers moved just behind Denver to the fourth spot. The Nuggets are three games behind the Jazz on the season. If the Jazz keep playing like this, they are most likely a one or at worst two seed in the NBA playoffs. As always, the Western Conference is wild. It will be a close playoff push until the end.
- The Jazz had a hard fought bench with Mitchell wearing a colorful hoodie sideline. Mitchell should never take that off as long as he’s out. He looked good and the Jazz played well.
- The last time the Jazz were a legitimate top four seed with home court advantage, the year was 2001. The home court drought is literally as old as Shrek. Credit McCade Pearson for pointing that out.
- Trent Forrest has hit 47 percent of his shots in the month of April. He has now increased that in May to 50 percent with a 2-4 shooting night.
- Mike Conley’s Ohio State Buckeyes tied Alabama this weekend for the most players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Ten players were drafted from both teams.
- The only players on the Jazz roster who went to colleges that did not have a player selected in the 2021 NFL Draft were Udoka Azubuike (Kansas) and Miye Oni (Yale)
- The local BYU Cougars football team had a more successful NFL Draft than every alma mater of the Jazz roster except for Mike Conley. They had five players selected.
- Bogdanovic has scored 44 points in two games played against the Raptors. That is more points than any Jazz member has scored against this Eastern Conference team this season.
Featured image courtesy Rick Bowmer, Associated Press