by Kimya Oliver
The Crossover: Utah Jazz by the Numbers
The Jazz opened the quarter on a 13-3 run. The Grizzlies started to get hot from the floor. They cut the deficit to two points, but the Jazz still held their lead. With six seconds left, Jordan Clarkson grabbed the offensive rebound and went to the other end of the court to make the layup. The first quarter ended with the Jazz leading 24-19.
To begin the second quarter, Danuel House Jr. was off balance and made a mid-air pass to Clarkson for the corner fadeaway three-pointer. The game remained close with the first half closing with a tied 50-50 score.
The Jazz came out slow in the second half as they did not see the bottom of the net until two minutes into the third quarter. The Grizzlies gained a ten-point lead, 62-52 with nine minutes left in the quarter. The Jazz did not let this discourage them. Clarkson gave Rudy Gay a quick pass while cutting to the basket to take a 79-78 lead with 2:30 left in the frame. Once again, the game was tied at the end of the quarter, this time 83-83.
Clarkson made the finger roll layup to start the fourth quarter. The Jazz found some breathing room by gaining a slight lead, but it all came down to the final seconds. Donovan Micthell sank two free throws to give the Jazz a two-point lead with 5.6 seconds on the clock. Grizzly Desmond Bane caught the ball from the inbound pass, put up a three, and air-balled, but Kyle Anderson was there for the offensive rebound and put back to send the game into overtime.
House Jr. made a corner three with a dish from Mitchell to start the overtime period. The Jazz locked down defensively and attacked the inside the paint for the remainder of the ball game to earn the home victory.
The Daily Double-Double
Gobert and Clarkson both ended the night with 22 points each. Gobert also grabbed 21 rebounds. While Donovan was not as efficient, he had 20 points and was just one rebound shy of his own double-double.
I was impressed with the Jazz tonight overall. Not only did they snap the Grizzlies’ seven-game win streak, but they clinched a top-six seed spot in the Western Conference (thanks to a Timberwolves loss to the Wizards) which means they do not have to participate in the play-in tournament.
In overtime, the Jazz locked in defensively and overcame an 11 point third quarter deficit. The offensive rebounds were a plus. During regulation, the Jazz grabbed six offensive and in overtime grabbed an additional five. This entire game was an entertaining fight between the two teams. Both teams were fighting until the finals buzzer.
The two areas that concerned me tonight despite the win are the steals and turnovers. The Grizzlies grabbed 13 steals while the Jazz only grabbed eight. Honestly, I think if Ja Mourant was on the floor tonight the Grizzlies would have grabbed a few more steals. Morant’s athletic ability is impressive at his age.
If Morant was on the floor, would the Jazz have been able to pull this upset over the #2 team in the Western Conference? I’m not saying the Jazz are a horrible team, but even the players like Gobert expressed his concerns about his team “not getting their hands dirty” to the media. The team hasn’t always been seeing eye to eye with each other this season.
I think the Jazz will need to have a serious talk before the playoffs start and try to improve the team chemistry or else their playoff run could be very short. The turnovers are crucial to me. I know turnovers are a part of the game, but keeping them to a minimum is preferable.
Bounce Pass: Up Next
In their next matchup, the Jazz will be facing the Oklahoma City Thunder. I believe the Jazz will defeat them easily. The Thunder is at a No. 14 seed and is already eliminated from the playoffs. I would bench my star players like Mitchell and Gobert. There would be no need for them potentially to get hurt going into the playoffs.
The Jazz will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on tonight at 7 p.m. MST.
Featured image courtesy Scott G Winterton, Deseret News