SALT LAKE CITY — This one is for the hoop heads, the basketball junkies, and the hardwood lovers around the world.
There are very few things more beautiful than a perfect basketball possession and even fewer things more beautiful than a perfect basketball possession that starts with an offensive rebound, includes seven passes, and ends in a corner 3.
The Utah Jazz’s best possession of the season took place with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter of their 123-101 win over the Kings on Saturday.
This is about as good as it gets... pic.twitter.com/X2H7fZwxNZ— David James (@DavidDJJames) January 19, 2020
Mike Conley had just checked in for the first time since missing 14 games and, as if on cue, the Jazz put on a ball movement clinic that was emblematic of the kind of impact that Conley can have on a game.
“He’s huge for us, just his leadership being on the court,” Bojan Bogdanovic said of Conley after the game. “There’s a lot of guys that come back from injury that are trying to get their rhythm hitting shots. He’s just trying to involve all of us and be patient, so it’s big time for us.”
Jordan Clarkson missed a 3-point attempt, but Tony Bradley used every bit of his 6-foot-10 frame and 7-foot-5 wingspan to grab the offensive board. Bradley then took two dribbles out and handed off to Clarkson, initiating a pick-and-roll.
Clarkson bounce-passed back to Bradley who then kicked it out to Royce O’Neale on the left side of the 3-point arc. O’Neale quickly swung the ball to Donovan Mitchell at the left side of the arc and Mitchell drove into the paint before a quick pass to Conley in the left corner.
Conley caught the ball in the air and, before he hit the ground, launched the ball back to O’Neale. By then the Kings’ defense was already scrambling, but the Jazz weren’t done yet. O’Neale drove the ball into the paint one final time and found Mitchell in the right corner with a perfect dime and Mitchell polished off the play, burying a trey that brought the crowd to their feet.
“It was just beautiful basketball,” O’Neale said. “Mike checked in, created momentum, everybody was touching the ball and it was good for everybody.”
It’s the kind of play that can set the tone for the rest of the game and one that will be rewatched not just by fans of the Jazz and of the NBA at large, but also by the Kings when they review film, and other teams when they are scouting and planning for the Jazz.
“It gives a boost to everyone, the fans, the crowd, the players on the court, everyone is involved and also it’s hard for the defense,” Gobert said of the play. “To chase people around for almost 24 seconds it’s just demoralizing for them. It’s a huge play.”
The Jazz are at their best when they are moving the ball and there were multiple plays on Saturday that proved that but none as well as the possession right after Conley checked in.
“That was Jazz basketball to the T right there,” Conley said after the game. “That’s what we do we find guys open and we make the unselfish play.”
An offensive rebound, seven passes, and the perfect finish to a perfect possession.