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Analysis: Utah Jazz beat Hawks for the second time in a week

The Utah Jazz met the Atlanta Hawks for the second time in less than a week and improved to 8-3 on the season with a 110-98 victory at Vivint Arena.

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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell drives on two Hawks defenders

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives on Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill (18) in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz met the Atlanta Hawks for the second time in less than a week and improved to 8-3 on the season with a 110-98 victory at Vivint Arena.

High notes

  • Donovan Mitchell’s passing has progressively gotten better every year, and when he’s focused and slowed down and seeing the court he really can thread the needle with the best of them. He finished the night with 27 points, but it was probably his passing and decision-making that were the most impressive of the night
  • Defenses have to respect the Bojan Bogdanovic from every spot on the floor, and it adds so much opportunity to everyone else. His post game has become so threatening that he is getting other guys open 3-pointers by driving. That’s something that’s easy for players like Mitchell or Clarkson to do because their drive game is so good, but now it’s to the point where Bogdanovic has that in his bag and he’s using it. Royce O’Neale’s first 3-pointer of the game came on a drive/post backdown and kick by Bogdanovic.

  • Hassan Whiteside had another impressive night. When Rudy Gobert got into some early foul trouble, Whiteside was called upon for some more time and that kind of situation used to be a real problem for the Jazz. Not anymore.
    “I came here to contribute to the depth. I was joking with the coaching staff, like how many teams got a backup center that can outplay the other teams’ starting centers. I take pride in that and I don’t want there to be a drop off or anything like that when I come in the game.” —Hassan Whiteside
  • But since we’re talking about Gobert getting in foul trouble ... it can be hard for some players to move away from their normal substitution patterns and then come into the game later and still have the right amount of juice. Not Gobert. It seems silly to say something like this, but he is so good defensively. He needed no amount of time to rev up once he got back into the game and he was closing down parts of the court with ease. His ability to recover on a play is really something to marvel at.
  • It makes Gobert’s life a lot easier when the perimeter defense is stepping up, and the Jazz have made strides there this year and it showed against the Hawks. Especially from Mitchell.
  • Three games in a row with double-digit outings from Royce O’Neale who has also been excellent on the defensive side and aggressive when he has the ball in his hands. Him being the front runner in transition is a huge help for the Jazz because he’s so good at finishing and so quick off the dribble.

Low notes

  • The Jazz still had some trouble with their transition defense early on. Obviously the Hawks were making a point of getting out and running. The Jazz got it together as the game went on but against a better team it would have really hurt them.
    “You’re not running that far. It’s a question of how quickly can you get to the next play? How alert you are? To not lament a missed shot or feel wronged about a foul, whatever the case may be, not ball watch. Just to understand that we’ve got to get to the next play, no matter what.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
  • Gobert would have ended up with like eight more points if he’d just went up strong rather than quit on a play when he feels contact.

Flat notes

  • Letting a guy like Kevin Huerter, who had 28 points, get hot is not smart, and then leaving him open after he’s found his stroke is even worse. 
  • I know that Joe Ingles has forever been adamant that he’s going to take the shots that feel comfortable but if he doesn’t feel comfortable when he’s wide open with no one even near him, I don’t know how he could ever feel comfortable, and that’s a problem.
  • The Jazz did what they were supposed to against a team who was on the second game of a back-to-back and down a couple of players, but I would really like to see some more tough games against full-roster opponents so the Jazz can be tested.