The Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 115-104, on Monday night on the road to rebound from their Saturday night loss to the Golden State Warriors.
- There were different players for the Jazz that stepped up throughout the game, but Donovan Mitchell was absolutely a leader for the Jazz in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 29 points in the period. I know that his confidence and his precision in the fourth quarter on the offensive end is what provides the most highlights and what stood out on the eye test on Monday, but I think that Mitchell’s defense against the Pelicans deserves a lot of praise too. His effort on the defensive side kept them in the game when the shots weren’t falling early on and gave the Jazz deflections, forced turnovers, and stalled the Pelicans on multiple occasions. He finished the night with five assists and three rebounds to go with three steals and a block.
- As I said, it was a different guy stepping up at each point in the game. Mike Conley was on a triple-double watch after the first half, Jordan Clarkson was at one point the only guy that could find the bottom of the net, and in the third quarter it was Bojan Bogdanovic who was crashing the boards and running around all over the place contesting shots and then making shots of his own on the other side.
- Speaking of shooting, the Jazz have had quite a few nights where one guy has it and the others don’t, but on Monday they closed out the game with five players who shot the ball above 40% from 3-point range.
“It starts with the running for us. It’s not like the Lakers and Showtime, where we’re running for layups and dunks. But we’ve got to run in order to create space so that we can play in a larger space where our quickness and our shooting — that combination — can can give us an advantage.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
- Good defensive position after a shot goes up is so much more valuable than we probably talk about. The Jazz are incredibly dependent on their ability to run and to get out in the open court and in order to do so they have to be a good rebounding team. They really worked in the second half to make a difference on the boards and it was often their position and their fight that made the difference in those moments.
“We just have to understand, it’s going to be hard for Mike Conley to get a rebound against (Jonas) Valanciunas. It’s going to be hard for Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell to get a rebound against Valanciunas. But if Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell and Bojan fight Valnciunas, we’ve got a chance to get a rebound. And that’s what I saw late, just everybody making an effort to be involved in a play, as opposed to guys watching and hoping someone else is going to get it.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
- The Pelicans had to deal with some early foul trouble when Jonas Valanciunas went out in the first quarter after committing two fouls within the first three minutes of play. That could have been really advantageous for the Jazz except for the fact that Gobert picked up a fourth foul in the third quarter. Quin Snyder challenged the offensive foul that was Gobert’s fourth, but it was an unsuccessful challenge.
- As we’ve seen in multiple games now, the Jazz playing without a traditional center is seemingly more troublesome than many thought it would be when the Jazz picked up Rudy Gay in the offseason. Gay offers a level of versatility offensively that the Jazz haven’t seen, but the Jazz’s small-ball defense hasn’t really been up to par.
- The opposing broadcast team said that the best way to score on the Jazz is in transition because Rudy Gobert is not there to anchor the defense. They were preaching to the choir and when they pointed this out it was in the fourth quarter with the Pelicans mounting a comeback, as Gobert complained to the official, leaving Royce O’Neale to handle the fast break on his own. When has complaining to an official after a miss ever made a difference other than costing you buckets on the other end? I know, I’m a broken record, but at this point, I’ll just continue to point it out until the Jazz can get it under control.