SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz ended the regular season on a high note.
The Jazz defeated the San Antonio Spurs 118-112 on Thursday in the final game for both teams before the NBA playoffs (Utah is the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and will face the No. 3-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round, while San Antonio was eliminated from postseason play earlier in the day).
Neither center Rudy Gobert nor point guard Mike Conley suited up for the Jazz, and a host of younger players stepped up in their absence.
Here are three takeaways from the Jazz’s latest victory:
- Regular Jazz starters Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale, as well key reserve Jordan Clarkson, started the game and played well. Mitchell was best among the group, as the All-Star guard finished the opening period with a team-high 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Buoyed by Mitchell’s strong play, the Jazz jumped out to a commanding 41-24 lead by the end of the first quarter. Mitchell went on to play only 11 total minutes in the game, O’Neale as well, while Ingles capped out at 12 minutes played and Clarkson at 14.
- While the veterans sat, youngsters such as Jarrell Brantley, Rayjon Tucker, Miye Oni, Nigel Williams-Goss, Justin Wright-Foreman and Juwan Morgan saw considerable playing time. Brantley was arguably the most impressive of the bunch, with Oni and Tucker in contention as well. Brantley finished with 13 points on 6 of 13 shooting from the field — with some highlight dunks along the way — and also handed out six assists. Oni, meanwhile, finished with 10 points and 4 of 8 shooting, to say nothing of his defense, while Tucker had 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting.
- It wasn’t all youngsters, though. Reserve big man Ed Davis reminded fans why the Jazz prioritized his signing during the offseason. Davis played only seven minutes — he suffered a knee injury and did not return — but scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds, including four of the offensive variety. Fellow Jazz big man Tony Bradley started the game in place of Gobert, and in only 22 minutes played he tallied 6 points and eight boards. Not to be left out, forward Georges Niang continued his strong play during the NBA restart, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Up next: Monday, Aug. 17 at Denver Nuggets, 11:30 a.m. MDT