by Kimya Oliver
The Crossover: Utah Jazz by the Numbers
Trent Forrest drove to the basket for the layup to begin the game. The game was neck and neck until the final minute when the Jazz took an 35-24 lead. Rudy Gay took a shot from beyond the arc and could not convert, but Rudy Gobert was there to clean up the mess with a tip-in. The first quarter ended with the Jazz leading 41-31.
Gay made back-to-back jumpers to open the second quarter. The Thunder started to gain offensive momentum and cut the Jazz lead to 57-55, but that did not intimidate the Jazz. Bojan Bogdanovic made a floater off the assist from Jared Butler. The first half ended with the Jazz leading 71-58.
Bogdanovic opened the third by hitting a shot from downtown. The Thunder continued to attempt to cut the deficit, but nothing was working. The third ended with the Jazz leading 106-85.
Rudy Gobert opened this final quarter of play with a monster block and a dunk on the other end. The Jazz continued to drive to the basket to get easy layups. The Jazz easily closed this game out.
The Daily Double-Double
I would love to give credit where credit is due and that is to Gobert, Bogdanovic, and Clarkson. Gobert consistently attacked the paint and did not miss a single field goal tonight. Not only did he contribute offensively, but he grabbed rebounds. This is the type of performance Gobert is going to need to give for the Jazz to make it far into this upcoming playoff run.
Gobert must take advantage of his length and strength when inside the paint. Bogdanovic stepped up tremendously tonight and I did not expect it. I thought Clarkson was going to lead the Jazz to victory tonight. Clarkson surprised me tonight. Not only did he have 18 points, but he also dished out 10 assists. I think the chemistry was great even though the Thunder is in the bottom half of the league. Six Jazz players were in double figures. If they continue to share the ball and take advantage of easy fast break points, they will be successful.
With tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns, I think they will win only because I do not think Chris Paul, Devin Booker, or Deandre Ayton will hit the hardwood tomorrow night. The Suns have already not only secured a spot in the playoffs but the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. I would hope that the Jazz rest Donovan Mitchell again as well and possibly more to not increase the chances of injury before the playoffs begin.
As of right now, the Jazz would be playing the Dallas Mavericks. This series would be interesting. These two teams have faced off four times this season and the series is tied 2-2. There are two strategies the Jazz will need to considere: Either contain Luca Doncic or focus on 2-3 role players on this roster. I am not saying they can not score at all because it is basketball at the end of the day but cutting their scoring average in half. Doncic is their leader in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. If the Jazz do not allow him to go on a scoring run, then I think the Jazz would defeat the Mavericks.
Bounce Pass: Up Next
The Jazz will face the Phoenix Suns on April 8, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. MST.