Joe Ingles got angry against the Sacramento Kings and his ire energized the Utah Jazz
Ingles has a reputation for being one of the most prolific trash talkers in the NBA, and when it is fueled by anger, it’s contagious.
At some point Saturday night in the Utah Jazz’s win over the Sacramento Kings, Joe Ingles got angry.
Ingles has a reputation for being one of the most prolific trash talkers in the NBA these days, but it’s often more about just blowing off some steam and messing with opposing players for a laugh.
“That just fired me up. When Joe gets angry I get angry and you saw that he was coming down and cashing in. Y’all will probably ask him and he probably won’t say what it was and I won’t either. But that’s really what turned the tide for myself personally.” — Donovan Mitchell
“Honestly, like deep down inside, I think it’s really funny,” he said. “It’s more of a kin of funny comedy thing to me.”
And, that’s how it usually comes off to the players on the receiving end of his jabs. Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said Ingles will make humorous comments under his breath here and there, but it’s normally not anything that gets under the skin.
“He’ll come up to you at the free throw line and say, ‘I’m about to tip-dunk this,’” Fox said with a grin. “It’s just little things and sometimes it’s funny, for sure.”
But when Ingles’ trash talking is fueled by anger, it’s contagious and one of the players that feels the heat of that fire most intensely is Donovan Mitchell.
Throughout the first half against the Kings, the Jazz were out of sorts. Richaun Holmes scored 21 of his 25 points in the first 24 minutes, Fox was 7-of-12 from the field and scored 18 of his 30 points, and the Kings had a six-point lead at intermission. Meanwhile, Mitchell was made only 3-of-12 shot attempts, Rudy Gobert had taken just a single shot attempt and the Jazz’s defense was lackluster at best.
When the teams took the floor in the second half things seemed to be going the same way, but then someone said or did something that made Ingles a little vindictive. None of the players would say what exactly had happened, but they did say that’s when the mood of the game shifted for the Jazz.
“That just fired me up,” Mitchell said. “When Joe gets angry I get angry and you saw that he was coming down and cashing in. Y’all will probably ask him and he probably won’t say what it was and I won’t either. But that’s really what turned the tide for myself personally.”
Ingles and Mitchell combined for 27 third quarter points while the entire Sacramento team scored just 24. Then in fourth quarter, Mitchell added another 14, finishing with 42 points.
It wasn’t just Ingles and Mitchell, though. Georges Niang, who finished with 12 points off the bench, scored half of his points in the fourth.
“Sometimes you come into a game and when a team kicks you in the mouth to start, 12-1, you’ve got to find something to kind of get your juices going. They were feeling confident and we kind of wanted to take their confidence away,” Niang said. “They were feeling high and we didn’t like how that felt, so we let them hear about it.”
As Ingles and Mitchell started to attack more and became increasingly engaged on both sides of the ball, the energy permeated through the rest of the roster. Gobert’s defense intensified, and Holmes was held to just four points in the second half. The Jazz’s ball movement improved and they came away with a win that seemed to be slipping away in the early stages of the game.
“I never go into a game thinking of talking to anyone. I obviously get in probably more conversations with people than anyone else on our team,” Ingles said. “But yeah, obviously it lights something up in me that makes the game fun.”
This could potentially be a lesson for the Jazz. If it’s trash talking or getting Ingles riled up that helps the team find the urgency they need to win games, maybe they should look for ways to poke the Aussie bear early on.