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Analysis: Shorthanded Utah Jazz roster blows out LA Clippers

The Jazz led the Clippers by 41 at one point despite missing key contributors

SHARE Analysis: Shorthanded Utah Jazz roster blows out LA Clippers

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks over LA Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) during the game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 18, 2022.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 121-92 on Friday night at Vivint Arena even though they were without Donovan Mitchell (right calf contusion), Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf strain), Danuel House Jr. (left knee bone bruise), Trent Forrest (right wrist sprain) and Udoka Azubuike (right ankle sprain).

High notes

  • To say that the Jazz beat the Clippers doesn’t really paint the whole picture. The Jazz absolutely annihilated the Clippers. They wiped the floor with the Clippers. They made the Clippers look like a JV squad. The Jazz looked like a well-oiled machine and the Clippers looked like a junked fax machine from years gone by. I hope that I’m getting across just how one-sided this game was. The Clippers scored just 34 points in the first half to the Jazz’s 71, and there wasn’t any sign of life from the Clips in the second half either.
    “I think your natural reaction is to go like ‘alright we got this one in the bag’ but that’s something that I feel like happens all over the league...Tonight we did a great job and coach Quin did a great job of continuing to tell us to just keep the foot on the pedal, you know, let’s not get lazy.” — Eric Paschall on keeping a large lead
  • I think that sometimes sports people can misuse the phrase “sense of urgency” because it can imply speed and quick action, but that’s not always the case. Urgency in sports requires an appropriate amount of patience, and I think we saw that with the Jazz on Friday. For players like Juancho Hernangomez and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who started, and Jared Butler, who came in off the bench, it can be easy to play too fast and try to go all out because the opportunities are limited. But to have the right kind of urgency and understand the opposing team and your own teammates, all while not trying to do too much, is not only difficult to achieve but also impressive when executed correctly. There were times when the Jazz were playing in half-court set that they weren’t moving fast or making super quick passes, but they were drawing the defense to the right spots and making the right decisions and it all worked to the greater benefit of the team, no matter who ended up scoring.
  • Speaking of Hernangomez, Alexander-Walker and Butler, the three of them just had great outings. After air-balling a 3 in the last game (and then getting ribbed about it by Donovan Mitchell), Hernangomez was knocking down shots, making great reads and then getting back to block shots or impact plays on the other end. Alexander-Walker continued his excellence from the last game by having a great impact on defense and being a dynamic scorer, but also showed his passing prowess. Butler too continues to show that he can play off the ball and can operate as a playmaker and a creator and he’s just so full of talent.
    “Nickeil’s got good vision and he’s got size and he can pass with either hand. I think his willingness to pass with our group is something that I think he’s enjoying. If you asked him I think he likes to pass.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
  • Playing without so many key contributors, the Jazz could have thrown in the towel easily and allowed the size of the moment to overwhelm them, but they looked like they never had any doubt. Every single Jazz player that stepped on the court scored and each one looked ready for the moment.

Low notes

  • The Jazz’s main rotation guys can surely use as much rest as possible before the postseason begins, but there are a lot of important games coming up on the schedule. The injury list continues to grow and the hope has to be that these are all just minor injuries that the team is being incredibly cautious with and that they can insert guys back into the lineup in short order.
  • When the second half began the Clippers elected to not even put Nicolas Batum or Marcus Morris on the court and it was like they just waved a white flag and told the Jazz to take the game. They gave up. The Jazz infamously have allowed teams to cut leads in the second half this season. Why would you just give up? I understand that it was 30-plus points and that resting guys can be a priority, but I just hate that the signal sent to the team was that they had no chance against a Jazz team missing so many key players. 

Flat notes

  • The Clippers depth is one of the things that caused the greatest number problems for the Jazz in the second-round playoff series last season. But the Jazz’s depth easily rocked the Clippers on Friday. I know that the Clippers are playing without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and that those two guys can create a world of difference, but the supporting cast for the Clippers this season is not the same as the group they had last year.