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Instant analysis: Utah Jazz blow out San Antonio Spurs with barrage of 3s

SHARE Instant analysis: Utah Jazz blow out San Antonio Spurs with barrage of 3s

Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots against San Antonio Spurs’ Lonnie Walker IV (1) as Jazz forward Derrick Favors looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in San Antonio.

Darren Abate, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz lit up the San Antonio Spurs from the 3-point line on Sunday night, shooting 51.2% from deep on 40 attempts en route to a 130-109 blowout win.

High Notes

  • Donovan Mitchell set a tone for himself early in the first quarter and was playing with more purpose than we’ve seen through the early part of this season. In particular his decision making against the Spurs was much better than the previous couple of games — more natural and less forcing. He took open looks, moved the ball efficiently and made crisp passes to open teammates. His turnovers are still a little bit of a problem (more on that below) but this game is an example where good decision making and turnovers are not mutually exclusive. He finished with 22 points and was 5-of-9 from deep.
  • Not only was it a bit of a bounce-back game for Mitchell, but also for Bojan Bogdanovic who finished with a game-high 28 points, including going 6-of-7 from beyond the arc.
  • Rudy Gobert’s timing at the rim just continues to be outstanding. That feels like one of the most obvious statements to make, but it’s true and it’s incredible.

  • It looks like Jordan Clarkson is getting even more lift on his 3-point shots. I’m going to go back and look at some examples to see if this is real, but it just feels like his form is higher and smoother than it’s ever been.
  • Speaking of Clarkson, I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t point out how he continues to improve on the defensive end. He doesn’t always make the right decision but he’s eager and engaged and gives a ton of effort.
  • DeMar DeRozan is one of the league’s best at drawing fouls and has very sneaky shot-fake tactics that he uses from every point on the court. Royce O’Neale deserves a ton of credit for the way he defended DeRozan on Sunday. His hands were super active and he didn’t fall for the shot fakes. DeRozan scored 19 points but he only made one trip to the free-throw line, where he was 1-of-2.
  • Let’s stay with O’Neale for a second. He had an incredible game, was great on defense and finished with an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double to go with five assists. He took four shots, all from 3-point range and all wide open, making good on three of them.

Low Notes

  • Rudy Gay likes to play against bigger players. He seemed to have an easy time scoring over Bogdanovic and getting around him, and later took advantage when Gobert switched out onto him. Earlier in the game the Jazz did a good job of denying those switches or denying the ball from going to Gay on those switches, but the Jazz got sloppy with that in the latter part of the game.
  • The Spurs were not only terrible from deep (6-of-19) but they were also abysmal at defending the 3-ball. The fact that O’Neale had four, massively wide open 3s is just a failing by the Spurs defense to read the scouting report and act accordingly.
  • Mitchell finished the game with four turnovers and is still seeming to have a little trouble the past couple weeks of maintaining control but I think it’s important to point out that some of his turnovers are made with the right decision in mind, but just poorly executed. What needs to clean up is the execution and control of the ball.

Flat Notes

  • Dejounte Murray was unable to get anything to go offensively and it looked like it got to his head by the time the fourth quarter came around. The only field goal he had was a wide open, fast-break dunk with about 10 minutes left to play. He finished 1-of-13 from the field. Yikes.
  • Spurs broadcasters say “g’day mate” in an awful Australian accent when Patty Mills scores and it would be hard to find something that I hate more.