Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots the ball during the game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 8, 2021. | Annie Barker, Deseret News
The Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 122-103 on Thursday at Vivint Arena on the second night of a back-to-back to break a two-game skid.
It was a 40-19 third quarter from the Jazz that separated what had been a close game up to that point. The Jazz weren’t even necessarily shooting the ball well, but they outrebounded the Blazers 19-6, including picking up five offensive boards while the Blazers had zero for the quarter. The Jazz finished the game with a 58-41 rebounding advantage, a big turnaround from their poor rebounding effort in Phoenix.
While the defense and rebounding were really good for the Jazz in the third quarter, there was also a huge difference in their spacing and passing in that quarter. There was a return of the blender, which is a nice sign for the Jazz.
Donovan Mitchell sparked that third-quarter run, scoring 13 of his 37 points in just over 10 minutes on the floor in that stretch.
Rudy Gobert’s passing has been on another level lately and he had quite a few really impressive passes on Thursday, including a behind the back pass to Miye Oni at the 3-point line, but Oni missed the shot. Gobert also was showing off what he can do when he goes up strong and uses his footwork in the post.
Oni got some extra playing time against Portland because Jordan Clarkson missed the game with a right ankle sprain. Not only did Oni play really well, as he usually does, but his defense was really a thing of beauty most of the night, especially on a play that needed to be reviewed. Oni was in absolutely perfect position on Carmelo Anthony in the left corner and didn’t leave his feet and kept his arms straight up. The officials called a foul on Oni and Jazz head coach Quin Snyder successfully challenged the play. That’s good for so many reasons. It gives Oni the confidence that his coach trusts him enough to use his challenge on him, and it also reinforces that Oni is doing the right thing on defense. The fact that the challenge ever needed to happen is a different story.
Midway through the first quarter Bojan Bogdanovic shot quicker and with no hesitation or side step. He’s been employing those hesitation moves and been a little slower on the trigger lately, and it just doesn’t look nearly as smooth. When he releases quick and in rhythm it usually goes in, as it did on that shot.
Georges Niang and Derrick Favors both had very nice outings for the Jazz off the bench. Atta boys for both of them.
The Blazers were right there with the Jazz up to halftime, but some foul trouble on Jusuf Nurkic forced them to play a significant amount of time with Anthony and Enes Kanter on …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News
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