Jazz Roll Out a New Look, Then Roll the Warriors in a 30-Point Rout

January 30th, 2018 | by Steve Godfrey

Melissa Majchrzak via ESPN.com

The Jazz’s Tuesday game against the Golden State Warriors featured new uniforms, new colors, new themes, new shirts, and a new court. Best of all, there was a new sense of urgency as Utah defeated the Warriors 129-99.

 

Against the best teams in the NBA, the Utah Jazz show up. Boston, 36-15 record: check. Toronto, 33-15: check. San Antonio, 33-19: check. We’re not sure what to make of the King’s Cavs, but check. How about the Warriors, winners of two of the last three Larry O’Brien trophies? Prior to the game, The Dubs sat at 40-10, with only four road losses all year. The Jazz made it five on the night they debuted their new “City” jersey and court ensemble paying homage to Utah’s unique landscapes and national parks. Here’s how it breaks down by quarter. 

Q1, 35-30: Three’s the Name of the Game. 

Just like the rest of the modern NBA, the Jazz are shooting from deep at a historic rate. To kick off the night in SLC, Joe Ingles kept the trend climbing up like Moab’s Arches. Ingles went 3-for-3 from three in the first six minutes and his teammates followed suit, collectively shooting 6-for-10 from long range. They obviously got a lift from their friend Joe:

All season long, the Jazz success has come and gone with the deep ball. If they make 12 in a game, they hold a favorable record: 13-7. After the first quarter, the Jazz were halfway to their money mark (The Jazz finished the game shooting 50% from deep: 14/28).

On the other end, the Warriors are the cause of the three ball revolution and lead the league in three-point percentage for the season (nearly 40%). Perhaps too exhausted from the #NightLife of Salt Lake City, the Warriors started out 0/4 and finished 5/25.

Q2, 69-56: The Bench Mob

Donovan Mitchell picked up three fouls in his first nine minutes, which sent the rookie to the bench to daydream about Zion National Park. That meant Royce O’Neale and Alec Burks had to remove their hiking gear as they were due for extended playing time. Both provided quality minutes as O’Neale played good defense on Durant and even hit a tough fallaway jumper over the Finals MVP. Burks scored five in the quarter while posting a +5. 

Joe Johnson, another member of the Bench Mob, was able to help out in the second quarter, too. Johnson had five points too, but also two assists and three rebounds to give a +7. While the three may not be recognized in a national park of Utah, on the court the Jazz felt the impact of the three. 

By halftime, the Warrior’s bench had contributed 10 points while Utah doubled, 20. Hoooooboy, indeed. 

Q3, 103-85: The Donovan Mitchell Show

The Achilles’ heel to the Jazz season so far has been third-quarter collapses. The Rookie, yes with a capital R, took off from Angels Landing to soar through the third quarter, ensuring the Jazz didn’t experience another flash flood in a slot canyon. 

To start the third, Mitchell hit a three, took the ball to the hoop for a driving layup, then dished to Ingles for his sixth three of the night (the last of 20 points for Joe, who finished with a +26). A few plays later, Mitchell reached up like a safety to intercept a fast break opportunity; Golden State likes to run but the Jazz limited them to four fast-break points after giving up 10 in the first quarter. Minutes later, he soared up high like it was an alley-oop, only it was a defensive rebound. On the other end, he even stood up to Durant on a few defensive possesssions. Mitchell uses his athleticism in every phase of the game: to score, yes, but to pass, rebound, and defend. 

Mitchell’s 13-point third were part of another big night: 20 points, three steals, four assists, three rebounds, and only those three first-quarter fouls. In addition,  there are some things that don’t appear in the box score. Mitchell was all over the place in the third quarter which frustrated Draymond Green into committing an aggressive foul. Mitchell retaliated with a little shove, not letting the physicality phase him. Seconds after the altercation, Mitchell posted up, faced up, spun and drew a foul on Klay Thompson, his third of the game, taking him out physically and mentally.  

Q4, 129-99: Time for a Run?

While the Grand Canyon gets all the credit for being majestic, Utah’s natural wonders deserve some love, too, including a clicking Utah Jazz team. 

Utah has won three in a row, highlighted by blitzing Golden State off the court to their worst loss of the season. With Rudy Gobert now healthy, Ricky Rubio actually working with this Jazz team (23 points and 11 assists), and the Jazz depth intact, could this be the start of a run? 

In the Western Conference playoff standings, the Jazz sit on the outside as mere tourists at the landmark. Last week, the Jazz were five games behind. After the win Tuesday night, the club sits at 3.5 games out. 

Better yet, the two teams holding the last spots are in a bit of a freefall, opening the door for Utah to hope. The New Orleans Pelicans, holding the 7th seed with a 27-23 record, just lost DeMarcus Cousins to a season ending Achilles injury. To add salt to the wounds, a reported trade for a serviceable replacement (Nikola Mirotic, whom the Jazz are also targetting) fell apart. The Clippers, eighth in the standings at 25-24, are in a similar bind as they just traded their star, Blake Griffin, for a rebuild on the run type effort. Rumor has it they are also fielding offers for their next best two players, scoring guard Lou Williams and all-defensive center DeAndre Jordan. 

With All-Star break and the trade deadline on the horizon, the Jazz are in a good place to make a run. Regardless, the City uniforms are at least 1-0. 

Steve Godfrey

Steve studied journalism and English, and now teaches high school in Northern Utah. He started his own website and writes about being a Tortured Jazz fan at: http://www.thetorturedfan.com/. He joined the Salt City Hoops team at the start of the 2017-18 season to connect with more Jazz fans and to continue to apply his passion for writing and for basketball.

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  1. Pingback: Deja Vu: Jazz Blitz Warriors Again, 119-79 | Salt City Hoops

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