The Utah Jazz beat the Detroit Pistons 111-101 on Friday night at Vivint Arena.
The Pistons are one of the worst teams in the league, so it’s not like the Jazz are walking away from this one with a ton of pride or thinking that they’ve fixed all their problems. But the Jazz are in a bit of a rough patch and any win can help morale, and if nothing else they can try to build on the positive things they accomplished on Friday.
- Without Donovan Mitchell (concussion) the Jazz had to figure out where they were going to get some leadership and scoring to put the game away, which is easier said than done in a high pressure situation, and it came as no surprise that it was Mike Conley who was the one that provided clarity, grit and smart basketball when the Jazz needed someone to really put a stamp on the game late. That being said, there was also a bit of a committee working to make things happen.
“I’m proud of the way that we played with a certain type of intensity and effort, especially on the defensive end ... When guys do the right thing, sprint back, get a hit on someone on the boards — that’s what we’re cheering about. We’re not worried about the 3 or the dunk, it’s more so about the key things that we’ve been focused on over the last week or so, that we know we need to improve on.” — Conley
- Big performances from Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson, especially in some tough minutes down the stretch of the game that allowed the Jazz to come away with the win. Each of the three were doing things that they do best — Gobert was working his angles in the post and pulling the defense with early and deep runs, cleaning up on the glass; Bogdanovic actually had some good defensive possessions and scored inside and out, taking what the defense was giving him; Clarkson was crafty with the ball and made quick decisions.
“We competed. One through five, everyone who came in the game, from the starters to the bench, everyone was playing with intensity. I thought we raised our level throughout the game and our communication was good.” — Gobert
- Eric Paschall, in the absence of Hassan Whiteside (health and safety protocol) got some extra run for the Jazz and he was fine. There were some good things and a few not good things. Most importantly was his strength on the defensive end. If he continues to get some opportunities in that role it will be really interesting to see if he can consistently make a difference for the Jazz.
- I’m not totally sure which section to put this in, so I’ll put it here. We all know that the Jazz’s perimeter defense is not great, and there are plenty of people who have criticized Mitchell for not doing enough on that end, and sometimes rightfully so. But what we’ve seen the last couple of games is that the Jazz’s perimeter defense is even worse when Mitchell is not on the floor. When Gobert was not playing, his value was made ever more clear and the same thing is happening with Mitchell. The Jazz need them, both of them. Mitchell is clearly not the defensive player or the anchor that Gobert is, that’s not what I’m saying. But Mitchell’s value on both sides is not small. He’s integral to this team.
- Detroit rookie Cade Cunningham is very good at basketball. It’s so impressive how he can speed up when needed but also play really slow and kind of lull a defense to sleep. He’s really smart, and he’s stronger than he looks.
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- Clarkson’s assist numbers would look a lot better if guys would make open shots. He was actually making some really good passes on drive-and-kick plays and swinging the ball at the right time. But the Jazz had some really badly missed shots by Ingles, Conley and Rudy Gay.
- Sometimes I get worried what it does for Gobert mentally when the Jazz’s defense breaks down really easily on a play and then he is forced to choose one guy or another to defend. He hasn’t said anything to that point, but I feel like it just has to be mentally tiring to be constantly forced into tough positions on blow-by plays.
- When someone is open, pass to them. When you are open, take the shot. There are days when I think this should be recorded and some of the Jazz players should be forced to listen to it as a mantra on a loop while they sleep.