The Utah Jazz beat the Brooklyn Nets, 125-102, on Friday at Vivint Arena.

Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points and put on a show in his first game back after missing the last eight with a concussion and the Jazz put together consecutive wins for the first time since victories over the New Orleans Pelicans and Denver Nuggets on Jan. 3 and 5.

High Notes

  • There’s this weird thing that happens when a basketball player is sidelined for more than a couple games. It’s like long term memory stops working and you forget how important they can really be. I’m not saying that we all forgot how important Donovan Mitchell is, but the immediacy of his impact on the game could be felt from the moment the game tipped off on Friday night. You could tell that he was just itching to get back on the court, too. He was engaged and focused and sharp and was killing it on both ends. His movement and understanding of defenders and of all of his teammates makes this team so much better. Also, when Mitchell is in the passing zone, he pulls off some of the most impressive quick, one-handed, no-look passes in the NBA. He had 27 points on 8 of 10 shooting, going 6 of 7 from 3-point range and a perfect 5 of 5 from the free throw line and added six assists and a block to his statline.
    “He takes pressure off of other guys, especially like Mike. There’s so much focus other teams have on (Mitchell) that it frees up other guys offensively. He’s Donovan Mitchell, he makes life easier for everyone.” —Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen
Donovan Mitchell ready for return after frustrating recovery from concussion
  • The Jazz did something very interesting on Friday night. In Rudy Gobert’s absence, they started Udoka Azubuike and brought Hassan Whiteside off the bench, and it really worked. More on that in an upcoming article.
  • Trent Forrest is getting to a point in his game where he’s starting to gain the kind of confidence that is a problem for other teams. For a while now he’s had great control and pace, but now that he’s being more aggressive and trusting his strength around the rim, he’s proving that he’s worth more than just a two-way contract.
  • There have been times throughout this season, even when the Jazz were at full health and even when they were winning, where something just seemed off. It was some sort of mixture of focus and effort and…I’m not really sure what. But the Jazz’s rag-tag team that’s been on the court lately has been competing at a much higher level, and they needed to keep that kind of intensity as they started adding players back to the rotation once guys were healthy. The Jazz had that intensity and grit on Friday and never really had a moment during the game where it felt like there was a lapse.
    “When everyone gets back it’s time to take it to another level, and I think we’ve been doing that, slowly but surely.” —Donovan Mitchell
  • To the above point, there were certainly mistakes and missed opportunities, as there are in every single game of basketball, but the mistakes the Jazz made were ones that they’ll live with and ones that they aren’t going to be down on themselves about because they were moving the ball and making quick decisions and pushing in transition and getting in front of the ball.
    “We’re going to mess up and everyone’s going to have mistakes, but as long as we have each other’s backs.” —Donovan Mitchell
  • Eric Paschall was shooting 48.4% from 3-point range since becoming a father heading into Friday’s game. He went 3-of-6 against the Nets. Just saying.

Low Notes

  • Shortly after the second half started, I looked at the box score and Bojan Bogdanovic had 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. And guess who was sitting courtside at the Jazz game on Friday? That’s right, it was Carlos Boozer, the last Jazz player to post a triple-double. I just feel like it was a real missed opportunity to dethrone Boozer while he was in the building. (This is incredibly tongue in cheek and Bogdanovic actually had an amazing game).

Flat Notes

  • The Brooklyn Nets have lost seven games in a row. They’ve dropped down to 6th in the East and are just a half a game ahead of the Toronto Raptors. If the Nets end up in the play-in tournament and are hosting a game, Kyrie Irving won’t be able to play. There are a lot of reasons that the Nets should be worried about their position in the standings.