Donovan Mitchell and Hassan Whiteside were on the verge of breaking the Jazz’s triple-double drought, but came up just short
The last Jazz regular season triple-double was notched by Carlos Boozer in 2008.
It has been almost exactly 14 years since the Utah Jazz had a player notch a triple-double during a regular season game — the longest triple-double drought in the NBA.
On Wednesday night, Donovan Mitchell was set up to break the triple-double skid and become the first Jazz player since Carlos Boozer, on Feb. 13, 2008, to put up a triple-double during a regular season contest. But Mitchell came up just two assists shy, and so the drought lives on.
Mitchell racked up five points, seven rebounds and seven assists by halftime against the Golden State Warriors, so it seemed like it would be a breeze for him to get five, three and three in the second half.
The points weren’t a problem — Mitchell finished with 14. The rebounds weren’t a problem — Mitchell finished with 10. But, he only managed a single assist in the second half, though it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
It was clear in Mitchell’s final minutes on the court that he was hunting assists, but it was his teammates who let him down. I told Mitchell that I was rewatching the film and that he had three chances to get an assist in the third quarter alone that went unfulfilled.
“Tell me who so I can get on them,” Mitchell said with a laugh.
In the end, Mitchell had six missed opportunities in the second half to get his final two assists needed. The culprits included missed shots by Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson, and passed up open looks from O’Neale and Clarkson.
Another reporter told Mitchell that he waited too late to start seeking out the assists and Mitchell quipped that he had to make sure the game was out of reach for the Warriors before he focused on the triple-double. Against a team with Stephen Curry, almost no lead is untouchable.
What was maybe even more impressive and improbable was that Mitchell wasn’t the only one on a triple-double watch. Hassan Whiteside went into halftime with six blocks, five rebounds and five points. After 14 years of regular season games sans a triple-double, it looked like the Jazz could come away with two in a single night. But alas, Whiteside also came up short, finishing with seven blocks, nine points and 17 rebounds.
“The higher the block (numbers) get, the harder each one gets,” Whiteside said. “They were attacking me a lot more in the beginning of the game.”
The span since the Jazz’s last triple-double is longer than the age Mitchell was when Boozer racked up his triple-double against a Seattle SuperSonics team that featured a rookie Kevin Durant. Mitchell was only 11 years old.
And so, the Jazz’s regular season triple-double drought lives on.