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Analysis: How the Jazz kept their winning streak going with a perfect road swing

SHARE Analysis: How the Jazz kept their winning streak going with a perfect road swing
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks over Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (21).

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks over Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Washington.

Nick Wass, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Utah Jazz beat the Washington Wizards 123-98 on Saturday night to finish off an undefeated four-game road trip. It was the Jazz’s seventh consecutive win, improving their record on the season to 19-7.

High notes

  • The Jazz went into halftime trailing by one point. The game was pretty tight but the Jazz weren’t shooting the ball very well. It was clear that they didn’t have their legs in this one, but the one thing you can do when the offense and the legs aren’t there is win the game on the other end. The Jazz held the Wizards to just 18 third-quarter points, taking a 12-point advantage into the fourth. They shot the ball under 30% from 3-point land, but they didn’t let up on defense. Then, when the fourth quarter started, the Jazz didn’t let up and were able to put the game away and rest their starters for the final few minutes of play. It’s honestly the perfect way to win the final game of a road trip.
    “You can always find something to be tired about and every team has that so I think teams that are able to compartmentalize it and play through it and maybe understand that when you are a little fatigued the things you need to do to still be successful. You need to be precise and that’s what we saw tonight.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • Bojan Bogdanovic pulled out a pass-fake layup, the kind that looked incredibly familiar after seeing Joe Ingles pull it off for years. It’s a really nice piece to add to Bogdanovic’s arsenal.
  • After the Jazz’s morning shootaround on Saturday, Mike Conley talked about the Jazz trying to get Rudy Gobert more involved in the offense that night. Like I said above, the long shots weren’t going the way the Jazz wanted, but the interior game was critical. Gobert finished the night with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Hassan Whiteside finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Jordan Mitchell, Donovan Mitchell’s sister, who plays lacrosse at American University in D.C., was at the game along with a huge group who said they all went to school with Jordan. The whole group was wearing Mitchell Jazz jerseys and cheering on her brother. The Jazz guard got tickets for the group and provided jerseys to all of them, a really nice gift. Coming out of timeout early on Mitchell turned toward the group and saluted them. They loved it, they cheered. Wholesome content.
    “She wanted to come to the game and invite her teammates, and they showed out. I appreciate the love. I always try to find ways to show love for my sister. She’s always been by my side, especially when we were younger. She missed out on a lot of childhood things to come sit in a hot gym for six hours a day, so any chance I can to show appreciation and this time it was her bringing a group of her friends to a game.” — Donovan Mitchell
  • Trent Forrest, who had only attempted two 3-pointers this season and had made zero, hit a 3 in the fourth quarter against the Wizards. A good sign. A small sign, but a good one.

Low notes

  • In the final contest of a four-game road trip that included a back-to-back set and the final three games played in four nights, the Jazz were tired and it showed.
  • Official Scott Foster left the game with a leg injury, leaving the game to be officiated by two referees rather than three, and it feels like the Jazz have had a weirdly large number of games where that has happened. I’ll be looking into this a little more. There’s probably nothing to take from it other than coincidence, but it’s interesting.
  • It seems like Bogdanovic thinks more about a foul before he drives than a lot of other players. He is really crafty and smart and strong and if he just focused on scoring he might actually get more calls, but he seems disappointed by non-calls sometimes before one of his shots even gets near the basket. It’s a bad habit that needs to be broken.

Flat notes

  • Early in the first quarter Mitchell crossed up Kentavious Caldwell-Pope before shooting a 3-pointer, but when he landed it looked like he came down on Caldwell-Pope’s foot. Afterward Mitchell was flexing and favoring his right ankle a little, but remained on the court and didn’t seem impacted in any way. Mitchell was also jawing at the official after the play, complaining that KCP was in his landing space so he might have just been trying to sell that foul, but it’s not great to see him limping or flexing that ankle at all, especially after what happened late last season.
  • Speaking of Caldwell-Pope, um, he was blocked by the backboard. It was embarrassing. I’ll let the video speak for itself.