As Jazz TV announcer Craig Bolerjack likes to say, “it’s good to be home.” After returning to Salt Lake CIty following a tough overtime loss in New Orleans, the Jazz bounced back quickly and early. They came out looking for the kill in the first quarter against the Kings on Saturday night on the way to a 123-101 victory.
In fact, the Jazz did not miss for the first 10 possessions or so of the game. Threes were raining down and the Jazz players were nearly literally on fire. The offense hummed most of the game, with a few minor glitches when the bench squad was on the floor. Check the ORtg by quarter, tracked by Ken Clayton here.
Jazz ORtg by quarter:1st 1652nd 1143rd 1334th 122 (141 before emptying the bench)Worst stretches involved the bench, dropping as low as 80 for 10 possessions in the 1st half, 67 on a dozen possessions in the 2nd half.
Even the ho-hum second quarter where the Kings put up a slight comeback on the Jazz was well above the league average offense, and the Jazz offense on the season is now higher ranked than the Jazz defense! Not something we ever thought we’d say with a Rudy Gobert roster.
Speaking of Rudy, he was phenomenal on both sides of the floor, per usual. But this game was special. He tallied 28 points and 15 rebounds, a monster double-double and point total second highest in his career. He had several highlight alley-oops and a few moves where he drove to the hole from 15 feet out for a slammer jammer finish.
After a 19-game absence due to hamstring issues, Mike Conley also returned to action on Saturday night. And the burning question about whether or not Quin shuffles him back into the starting lineup was answered, at least for now. As predicted by more than a couple writers, Conley was not re-inserted into the starting lineup that has been working oh-so well. But fears about whether or not he will fit in now are unfounded. He’s a game-changing player with gravity and a high IQ. And players of his caliber often can benefit from spending some time on the sideline just observing their team.
As long as he stays healthy, the Jazz team became even more dangerous and hopefully allows them to not only whomp on the little guys, but keep up with the contenders. We get to test this theory Monday night in the next game vs the Indiana Pacers in Salt Lake City, who come to town on a tough Denver-Utah back to back.
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