The Utah Jazz beat the New York Knicks 113-104 on Monday night with a fourth-quarter rally and some really important and impressive play from the bench to bolster a great game from Donovan Mitchell.
- In Mitchell’s second game back after missing eight in a row because of a concussion, he was again really spectacular. We all know how dynamic and explosive Mitchell is, and it’s honestly not a surprise when he has a 21-point first half as he did against the Knicks, but I think that what he doesn’t get enough credit for is being so important for the Jazz in high-pressure situations.
When the Jazz just need a dude to go out and get a bucket, Mitchell is that guy without question and without hesitation, and he’s really, really good at it. He finished the night with 32 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. His final steal in the fourth quarter led to him getting a wide open break-away windmill dunk, much to the fans’ delight.
- The Jazz’s bench provided a huge lift when the team couldn’t seem to find its footing. To say that on a night when the Jazz were without Rudy Gay and don’t have Joe Ingles is really something. They are getting really important minutes from players who are being asked to play in new roles and play in more important minutes than they have all season, and that’s a testament to not only the players but also the development staff.
“I thought when our bench came in, that was the difference.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
- Royce O’Neale had missed five 3-pointers until midway through the fourth quarter when he hit two incredibly timely and important buckets to give the Jazz a much-needed five-point lead. O’Neale did not have the best offensive game, but having someone that capable and that potentially lethal from long range is so valuable.
- Udoka Azubuike got the start for the second straight game with Rudy Gobert sidelined because of a calf strain and despite the fact that Hassan Whiteside was healthy. Azubuike had a really rough start to the game and to be totally honest, Mitchell Robinson was thoroughly outplaying both Azubuike and Whiteside. But, in the second half, Azubuike came alive and played a great game with a ton of extra effort plays that yielded good results for the Jazz. When Whiteside fouled out of the game, the Jazz didn’t even have a choice of who to finish the game with at the five, and Azubuike stepped up to that call, too.
“I’ve got to take a second to really shout out Dok, man. He’s taken this opportunity and has ran with it. He’s fighting and competing.” — Donovan Mitchell
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- The swings that the Jazz have are sometimes really baffling. They go from being really high intensity and laser-focused, and then when things start to go wrong for them they spiral a bit. But then they pick back up after the other team goes on an 18-0 run and get right back into the game. The Jazz were a more stabilizing team the last couple of seasons, but this year they seem to be the epitome of the cliche “basketball is a game of runs.” While their ability to scrap themselves back into a game is a good thing, their tendency to let the wheels fall off every once in a while is not something that is going to serve them well in the postseason. Teams will pounce and step on throats in the playoffs if you let them.
- To that point, the Jazz’s third quarter was so rough. Live ball turnovers, stagnant offense, inability to secure rebounds, the third quarter had it all.
- At least twice on Monday night, the Jazz closed out an offensive possession by not knowing at all how much time was on the shot clock. I know there are about a million things going through a player’s mind on the court, but you have to know how much time is on the clock.
- Dear New York Knicks, do not try to hide Evan Fournier on Bojan Bogdanovic, it’s just a bad idea. Bogdanovic is too strong and too skilled.