by Daniel Olsen
The Utah Jazz have finished with the best overall record in the NBA for the first time in franchise history. They earned the overall seed in 1998 as well but that was due to a tiebreaker. With that being said, it’s time to re-live the greatest games this season.
1. Jazz vs Bucks: January 8, 2021
By greatest, it doesn’t mean there were many exciting close games that went in favor of the Jazz. Instead, there were plenty of games in which they ran their opponent out of the gym. This was one example as the Jazz defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 131-118 on the road.
This was perhaps the first game in which the sleeping giant Jazz awoke and put the NBA on notice. They were just coming off a two game losing streak in their New York road trip. At that point, they were sitting at an average 4-4.
The Jazz proceeded to score a franchise record 25 three-pointers. Bojan Bogdanovic capped off the win with a posterizing dunk over former Utah State Aggie Sam Merrill. This was the start of one of the best winning stretches in franchise history. The Jazz would go on to win 19 out of 20 games.
2. Jazz vs Kings: April 28, 2021
This was another record breaking performance as the Jazz had their largest margin of victory and highest points scored in franchise history. The final score was a 154-105 Jazz win over the Sacramento Kings.
Eight players scored in double figures and Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 24 points. Jordan Clarkson had perhaps a more impressive performance with a more efficient route to 23 points off the bench. It was fun to see the Jazz take it to a Kings team that hasn’t been better than them in nearly two decades.
3. Jazz vs Hornets: February 22, 2021
While both games against the Charlotte Hornets were equally impressive this year, it was the second one that really turned heads. The record-setting win over the Bucks was ranked at the top because it was a win over a far more impressive team. It was also the first of many record-setting games for the Jazz from downtown.
The Jazz won the first game in Charlotte with another franchise record of 26 made three-point attempts on February 5, 2021. The final score was 138-121. They followed it up by breaking that record again with 28 made shots from three on February 22, 2021. Joe Ingles led the way with all of his points coming off his seven three-point makes.
The Jazz trail only the Bucks who own the record with 29 three-pointers made in a game earlier this season. It will be interesting to see who will win the race to 30 three-pointers made in a single game.
4. Jazz vs Nuggets
It is tough to say which was the more impressive win. Was it when the Jazz beat Jokic and Murray in January or when they beat just Jokic but without their own starting backcourt?
Although the January win was impressive, it was only impressive because it was a statement game against a team that came back from down 3-1 on them in the playoffs the previous year. This game was a little part of the most dominating run of the season for the Jazz as they would extend the winning streak to 11-games.
The win over the Nuggets in May was more impressive because it came with only Ingles leading the backcourt. The Jazz started two small forwards in Bogdanovic and Niang. This game was more impressive given that they were able to win with two of their best three players out. Conley and Mitchell were ruled out for this game due to injury.
This was a 127-120 win for the Jazz. They made an impressive 21 shots from downtown. One can’t talk about this game without mentioning the career high 48 points made by Bogdanovic. He simply could not miss.
5. Jazz vs Pelicans
This will forever be known as the “Aight” game. Mitchell went out and score 36 points on national television to defeat the Pelicans 129-118. It was the second time in 48 hours that the Jazz had beaten the team from their former New Orleans home.
Meanwhile, TNT Shaquille O’Neal was talking down on Mitchell at halftime and did the same after the game. When O‘Neal confronted Mitchell about saying that he didn’t have what it takes to get to be a superstar, Mitchell just said “Aight” and moved on. It became a trending word on social media around that time. Even that makes this a memorable game worthy of recognition.
Featured image courtesy Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports