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Instant analysis: Jazz surge in third quarter to beat Trail Blazers

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots the ball during the game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots the ball during the game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
Annie Barker, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 122-103 on Thursday at Vivint Arena on the second night of a back-to-back to break a two-game skid.

High notes

  • It was a 40-19 third quarter from the Jazz that separated what had been a close game up to that point. The Jazz weren’t even necessarily shooting the ball well, but they outrebounded the Blazers 19-6, including picking up five offensive boards while the Blazers had zero for the quarter. The Jazz finished the game with a 58-41 rebounding advantage, a big turnaround from their poor rebounding effort in Phoenix.

“Our defense was the biggest thing, and our defensive rebounding in the third quarter, I thought, really broke the game open.” —Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • While the defense and rebounding were really good for the Jazz in the third quarter, there was also a huge difference in their spacing and passing in that quarter. There was a return of the blender, which is a nice sign for the Jazz.
  • Donovan Mitchell sparked that third-quarter run, scoring 13 of his 37 points in just over 10 minutes on the floor in that stretch.
  • Rudy Gobert’s passing has been on another level lately and he had quite a few really impressive passes on Thursday, including a behind the back pass to Miye Oni at the 3-point line, but Oni missed the shot. Gobert also was showing off what he can do when he goes up strong and uses his footwork in the post.
  • Oni got some extra playing time against Portland because Jordan Clarkson missed the game with a right ankle sprain. Not only did Oni play really well, as he usually does, but his defense was really a thing of beauty most of the night, especially on a play that needed to be reviewed. Oni was in absolutely perfect position on Carmelo Anthony in the left corner and didn’t leave his feet and kept his arms straight up. The officials called a foul on Oni and Quin Snyder successfully challenged the play. That’s good for so many reasons. It gives Oni the confidence that his coach trusts him enough to use his challenge on him, and it also reinforces that Oni is doing the right thing on defense. The fact that the challenge ever needed to happen is a different story.
  • Midway through the first quarter Bojan Bogdanovic shot quicker and with no hesitation or side step. He’s been employing those hesitation moves and been a little slower on the trigger lately, and it just doesn’t look nearly as smooth. When he releases quick and in rhythm it usually goes in, as it did on that shot.
  • Georges Niang and Derrick Favors both had very nice outings for the Jazz off the bench. Atta boys for both of them.

Low notes

  • The Blazers were right there with the Jazz up to halftime, but some foul trouble on Jusuf Nurkic forced them to play a significant amount of time with Anthony and Enes Kanter on the floor, and that’s not really a defensive group that can be trusted to rebound the ball well or work effectively guarding the pick and roll. The Jazz were playing a lot better, but it certainly didn’t help the Blazers that they completely flattened out.

“We’ve got to punish them. Teams in the past, they’ve played small against us and we know we’ve got to punish them. We’ve got to put the emphasis on pounding the ball inside when teams play small and attacking the rim. Teams should not be able to play small against us.” —Rudy Gobert

  • Clarkson missed his first game since joining the Jazz, which is notable. There are always bumps and bruises to players, but some are more tolerant than others and Clarkson seems to not be one that is shaken or taken out very easily. He’s been having a rough go lately so maybe a couple of games off could help a little bit, but here’s to hoping that he isn’t on the Jazz injury list for long.

Flat notes

  • So, about that call that Snyder had to challenge. That was an embarrassment of a bad call by the officials. Oni very clearly never left his feet and was in great position. It seemed to be obvious to absolutely everyone other than the guy that was standing right next to the play. Snyder shouldn’t have had to use his challenge on that call.
  • Also, the technical fouls assessed during this game were just soft. Can we just let the players have a little bit of passion for the game?