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Analysis: Jazz hold on to beat Kings for second time in 11 days

Rudy Gobert goes to block a Kings player
The Utah Jazz and Sacremento Kings compete during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

For the second time in 11 days the Utah Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings. The Jazz came out on top to the tune of a 119-113 win, improving to 6-1 on the season. The Jazz needed a combined 66 points from it’s All-Star back court to put away the scrappy Kings, but they held on down the stretch

High notes

  • Mike Conley was good in the first half and exceptional in the second half. There are some days where Conley just looks like he’s travelled back to his seventh season in Memphis, except he’s given more freedom on the perimeter. Early in the fourth quarter Davion Mitchell was hounding Conley and it looked like Conley just decided to show Mitchell what 14 years in the NBA looks like. Conley shook him, then hit a step back 3 before sprinting to the other end and making a defensive play. There are definitely younger stars on this team, but let’s not forget that Conley was an All-Star last season and for good reason. He’s still good and he can still impact games as much as he ever has. He had nine points at halftime and finished with 30.
    “I’m trying to think of something that he wouldn’t be good at. I think he’d be a great cornerback, I think he probably could be a heck of a tennis player, I’m sure he’s a good bowler. You go down the line, we all know he can golf, he can kind of pick a position on the baseball field. So, it’s not surprising that he’s doing what he’s doing.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder on Mike Conley
  • The Jazz are not shooting the ball well. They finished Tuesday night hitting just 29.2% from 3-point range, and they haven’t shot the ball well through the first seven games. But that has not stopped them from finding smart and efficient ways of scoring ,and that’s a really good thing. Imagine what this team is going to look like when they get their shooting mojo back. Also, most of the shots they’re taking are perfectly fine and they are shots that usually go in.
  • In Jared Butler’s short stint on Tuesday he was guarding former Baylor teammate Davion Mitchell one-on-one. It looked like the two of them were in their own world and back in the practice gym at Baylor going at one another. That was probably a special moment for the two of them. Before the Jazz played Sacramento earlier this season, Butler mentioned how strange it was going to be competing against Mitchell because he naturally wants to root for him. Nothing really huge to say here other than it being a nice, cool moment.
  • Yes, Butler has had a bit of a rough go through his first few games, but every game that he plays there’s incremental progress being made. All of that is going to add up at some point.
  • Rudy Gobert is coming off a Western Conference Player of the Week nod and Donovan Mitchell seems likely to get one of those at some point this season as well. Gobert has been getting some MVP buzz in the early days of the season and when Mitchell plays like he did on Tuesday, you have to think that he will as well. That’s not to say that either are going to be deserving or even get close to the award, but they are certainly going to be considered. Mitchell played like a veteran against the Kings and made smart decisions, all the way to the end. He finished with 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
  • Hassan Whiteside had another really impactful game for the Jazz. The thing that Whiteside does that I think the Jazz really need is that he energizes the team with singular plays. His energy and anger and intensity is contagious.
    “That was a great game. It started to get real close at the end and we got some key stops, made big plays and that really shows guts.” — Hassan Whiteside

Low notes

  • This is completely an opinion, but since I’m the one writing this I get to have that. Whiteside flexes after almost every single shot he makes and I think that it waters down every offensive play he makes. If you’re going to flex after an uncontested dunk over Alex Len and also a contested put-back over Richaun Holmes, I feel like you have to at least flex differently. Those are not equal.
  • I feel like anytime you play a team that has a shooter the caliber of Buddy Hield, it is a complete defensive breakdown if that person ends up wide open with no one even in shouting distance. You can not leave him open and if you do, you deserve for him to hit 5-of-7 from 3.
  • Hield got frustrated in the final seconds of a close game and was ejected after being issued consecutive technical fouls. Can’t let frustration get the best of you right at the end for no reason like that. I know emotions are high, but it’s just pointless when the game is all but over.

Flat notes

  • Donovan Mitchell with less than a minute left in the second quarter was called for an offensive foul, but looked like he was a little hobbled and after the whistle he ran directly into the tunnel and into the locker room. He came back out and played the rest of the game, looking completely normal.
  • Yes, the Jazz are taking good shots and yes I believe that they will shoot the ball better in time, but I understand that fans watching are starting to worry a little. I get that it’s hard to watch a slump, but just be patient. If we’re still talking about this 20 games into the season then it will be an actual problem. It’s only been seven games, but I see you and hear you.