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Instant analysis: Jazz grind out win over Kings

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Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell drives to the basket during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. The Jazz 110-101. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)

AP

SACRAMENTO — The Utah Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings on Friday, 110-101, in their first road game of the season.

High Notes

  • Rudy Gobert didn’t look like himself through most of the game but had a dominant stretch on the defensive end in the fourth quarter that resulted in offensive opportunities. If we’re being totally honest, that’s how a lot of the game went on Friday. The Jazz were out of sorts and didn’t have control of the game until they came together and got it done on the defensive side and let the offense flow.
    “Rudy took upon himself to be stronger. He didn’t finish strong in the beginning and then you look at the end and his finishes, and-1s, everything. It was night and day. He took that upon himself.” — Donovan Mitchell
  • Through two games, the defensive effort from Jordan Clarkson has really been something to take note of. He also finished with 15 points off the bench.
  • Clarkson was also part of a lineup, along with Mike Conley, Gobert, Trent Forrest and Eric Paschall, that seemed to calm things down for the Jazz late in the third quarter. That quarter ended with a 3-pointer from Clarkson which gave the Jazz the lead after they trailed through most of the game.
  • Kings rookie Davion Mitchell is worth every bit of defensive hype that he received heading into the draft. He’s all over the place and it doesn’t seem like he understands how to give up on a play.
  • The Kings played a lot more physical than I expected them to and that’s a really good development for a team that looked like they might be on the rise a little bit last season.
    “They were physical, they were running, they were doing so many different things. In my five years this is probably the most physical that they’ve been.” — Donovan Mitchell
  • Despite the Jazz looking like they weren’t in control for a lot of the game, this was a really good win for them this early in the season. They were able to regain the upper hand and then hold onto their lead in the fourth quarter. Closing games the right way is more important than opening them the wrong way.
  • Hassan Whiteside, again, was not perfect, but he gave really important minutes and had a couple stretches that were really important for the Jazz, especially in combatting the Kings’ physicality.
    “I feel like every day I’m getting better. I’m getting better and better. I’m getting better at reading the plays. I have some slip-ups every once in a while, I haven’t been here super long...but I feel like each game I’m better than the last game.” — Hassan Whiteside
  • Bojan Bogdanovic hit a dagger 3-pointer in the fourth. It was a shot that caused many Kings fans to give up and head for the exits. After he hit the shot he waved goodbye to Sacramento fans. I am in favor of this kind of grandstanding.

Low Notes

  • The Jazz were pretty unhappy with a lot of the officiating on Friday night, but that doesn’t excuse the many, many times the Jazz were late getting back on defense after not getting a call they wanted, the times they were too busy looking for a call to realize what else was going on in the play. Officiating very rarely decides an early regular season game unless you let it decide the game. 

Donovan Mitchell did a really nice job through the second half of figuring out how to deal with Davion Mitchell’s defense. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a high note. BUT, after this play —

— there was a stretch where Donovan just looked like he wanted to take it to Davion and because he wanted the better part of that individual matchup, it took away from the team offense and things got really stagnant and there were a lot of turnovers.

Flat Notes

  • Joe Ingles was ejected from the game in the first quarter after being issued a Flagrant 2 foul after undercutting Davion Mitchell on his way to the basket.
  • The Jazz fell into a few bad habits that we need to keep an eye on. Royce O’Neale seemed to be still hesitating on some wide open shots, players were not getting back on defense when they were complaining to the refs and the Jazz started to let things get a little wild and snowball when they weren’t engaged on the defensive side.