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Analysis: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert shine in Jazz’s win over Portland

SHARE Analysis: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert shine in Jazz’s win over Portland
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, wearing yellow, looks to pass the ball

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to pass the ball against Portland Trail Blazers during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 129-107, on Monday night at Vivint Arena. The Jazz have a rare three-day break following the win before they face the Boston Celtics at home on Friday.

High Notes

  • Donovan Mitchell really put together a nice game on Monday finishing with 30 points, five assists, and three rebounds. There was a small spell in the second quarter where he and Jordan Clarkson kind of fell into iso-ball and let things stick, but he got back to making quick decisions and it paid off for him and everyone else. He was cutting and driving and passing with force and got some really good things done on the defensive end as well. 

  • Rudy Gobert played absolutely wonderfully against the Blazers and was a huge part of the Jazz being able to keep Damian Lillard to just 11 points on the night. On display was classic shot-altering and recovery that we’ve all come to expect from Gobert, but what I found most impressive was his positioning on rebounds. He finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three assists. He got a ton of lobs and put-backs and was able to kick out to open shooters because of where he kept bodies in control around him.
    “Just try to make his life a little harder with drives and driving him into me pretty much. Make sure we don’t give up easy 3’s.” — Rudy Gobert on the defensive plan against Damian Lillard

  • The Jazz have been without Royce O’Neale through the last two games because of an ankle sprain, and Joe Ingles has really shown up defensively. I don’t think anyone would argue that the Jazz would rather have O’Neale on the court, but Ingles provided much needed relief for the Jazz against the Pelicans on Saturday and then against the Blazers on Monday. He’s also just one of three Jazz players who is shooting 40% or better from deep this season, the others being Mike Conley and Rudy Gay.

  • There are times when Trent Forrest is in the game and the offense suffers because teams can sag so far off of him, knowing that he isn’t going to shoot a 3, and even if he does, he’ll probably miss. We haven’t seen much development from Forrest in that department. But, he has greatly improved his first step and his awareness of defensive movements in order to exploit the opposition with the pass or on a quick drive. In the small moments that he is getting this season with the Jazz, he’s not only allowing Conley and Ingles to rest and keep their minutes down, but he’s growing as a player. If he can make those moves even more consistent in his spots it could end up being kind of a sneaky weapon to get a quick bucket from someone who can largely be ignored in scouting reports.
    “I told him that teams are going to expect for me to want the ball a lot, so he needs to attack and be aggressive. He’s so selfless and he always looking to make plays, but what you’re starting to see is him attacking. ... He’s progressed defensively as well.” — Donovan Mitchell on Trent Forrest

Low Notes

  • Robert Covington had just three shots against the Jazz and missed all of them. His shot attempts are way down from when he joined the Blazers a couple years ago but he is still usually averaging upwards of five shots a game and didn’t get close to that on top of not making anything.
“Just try to make his life a little harder with drives and driving him into me pretty much. Make sure we don’t give up easy 3’s.” — Jazz center Rudy Gobert on the defensive plan against Damian Lillard

  • I’m actually OK with the Jazz allowing Anfernee Simons to be the one to get shots, especially if it means that Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for just 30 points, but they let him get a little too hot when they relaxed the defense a little bit later on in the game. The Jazz have to be careful of allowing the hot hand to eat against them. They surely have bad memories of the Clippers’ Terance Mann gaining confidence against them in the playoffs. It’s just something to keep in mind.

Flat Notes

  • It seems like Miye Oni might be the forgotten player now that the roster has upgraded around him. He’s not gotten anything more than garbage time minutes this season and it’s hard to imagine him getting more than that with the way the roster is constructed and with the insurance the Jazz have with Eric Paschall, Elijah Hughes and Jared Butler who are all on guaranteed money. 
  • There were some stretches during the game when the Jazz had to be without Conley and Ingles on the floor and it forced Clarkson to be the man guarding Lillard or McCollum and that’s just not great for Clarkson or the Jazz. No matter how much help Ingles can give the Jazz at times, they really need O’Neale.