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Instant analysis: Rudy Gobert sets the tone as Jazz pull away from Clippers for ninth straight win

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert grabs a rebound against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Los Angeles.
Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz beat a shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers squad, 114-96, on the road on Wednesday for their ninth consecutive win.

High Notes

  • Rudy Gobert was an absolute force against the Clippers. His defensive timing and use of space was largely why the Jazz kept things so close through the first half, even though they were struggling on the offensive end. Gobert didn’t let up at all in the second half and finished the night with 23 points and 20 rebounds in a dominant performance.

“There’s games where the box score doesn’t show the things that [Gobert] does, tonight it did. He’s not trying to prove anything he’s just playing, just competing. That’s what we get from our whole group, and he can he can lift you when he’s doing that particularly on the defensive end.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • The third quarter was a turning point for the Jazz, in thanks to a lot of different things. In particular Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles, and Donovan Mitchell all seemed to settle down. Favors had a rough go in the first half on the defensive end, but his activity in the second half was much better. Ingles and Gobert started to connect in the pick-and-roll and Ingles was aggressive offensively while Mitchell was able to get some consistent rhythm.

  • It’s getting hard to be critical of slow starts from the Jazz because they seem to be able to calm any storm and readjust before just completely taking off and creating a wide scoring margin. The growth in that department has been monumental this season.
  • I have to give a lot of credit to Mitchell and Clarkson because even on low-efficient nights they were shooting through their difficulties. That doesn’t always make for very nice looking basketball, but it’s important for offensively powerful players to be confident in playing through a slump, whether that’s over the court of multiple games or in the course of a single game. The put up a combined 45 shot attempts and scored a combined 42 points. Like I said, not always the prettiest, but the Jazz needed what they brought in the second half.
  • Hats off to the Clippers who were without two of their best players and really defended the Jazz well in the first half and tried their hardest to run the Jazz off the 3-point line. The Jazz combatted that better late in the game, but the Clippers made things tough.

“They did a really good job of being physical, and we did a really good job of finding ways to go around and pushing the pace more and making them run back.” — Donovan Mitchell

Low Notes

  • During the game, one of the Clippers broadcasters said, “Hesitancy is the best defender.” I’m sure this has been said many times before but it’s a saying that’s new for me and though he was talking about the Clippers when he said it, I think it is more true about the Jazz than anything else. They are hampered so badly when they hesitate. Whether it’s shooting, passing, attacking a switch or any decision making, the Jazz seem to lose their composure quite a bit when they become hesitant. That happened a lot through the first half.
  • The shot selection in the first half was not great for the Jazz, in particular from Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic. I realize that they were trying to get anything to go and find some sort of rhythm, but there were a lot of off-balance, in traffic mid-range shots that just shouldn’t have happened.
  • It’s the second game in a row where Bogdanovic hasn’t looked comfortable.

Flat Notes

  • The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, their two best players, so the game wasn’t as much of a test as many were hoping for. While the Jazz will take the wins no matter where they come, it would be nice for them to face more top-end talent before the All-Star break. They played the Sixers without Joel Embiid, the Clippers without Leonard and George, and they’ll face the Lakers next week without Anthony Davis. Hopefully the Clippers will have a little bit more of a full squad when they play the Jazz again on Friday.