The Utah Jazz secured another win on Monday, bringing their record to 21-2 since opening the season with a 4-4 mark. The upstart young Charlotte Hornets posed a serious threat but in the end, Quin Snyder‘s bunch was too much to handle.
A high-scoring tone was set early, as both teams put up 35 points in the first quarter. Heading into halftime, Charlotte was able to pull away by three points. Donovan Mitchell was 3-of-10 from the field. The Jazz were in desperate need of a spark. Luckily for them, the team’s biggest strengths shined through down the stretch.
In typical Jazz fashion, a franchise record 28 3-pointers fell through the net in total. Mitchell eventually snapped out of his slump — shooting 5-of-7 in the second half from the field — and Mike Conley had 12 of his 15 points from deep. With that said, the bench unit was the true star of the show.
Nineteen of those 28 3s came from the reserves, including a scorching 7-for-7 shooting night for forward Georges Niang. Joe Ingles matched his 21 points, making it the fourth time in the month of February that he’s eclipsed the 20-point mark. Jordan Clarkson continued to be a steady contributor, adding a 20-piece of his own while knocking down half of his attempts from deep.
Utah led by just one at the end of the third quarter but ended up winning by over, you guessed it, 20 points. Largely pedestrian play from its starters didn’t seem to make a difference. A 41-11 run sealed the deal and made the game look like a complete and utter blowout. The team seems to have a switch it can flip at any given moment, and it was kicked into high gear against a pesky opponent when it mattered most.
Some still wonder if the current brand of Utah Jazz basketball is sustainable. It is: We’re now over 30 games into the season. This team appears to be legitimate, and its style of play is working. It has all the makings of a very tough out in the playoffs. Strong team defense? Check. Elite shooting at a high rate? The best in the league. Minor improvements from nearly everyone and a budding superstar in Mitchell? The icing on the cake — and a ceiling-raiser once the postseason rolls around.
The Jazz didn’t play their best basketball on Monday. They still won by a final score of 132-110. With teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers on the horizon, additional tests remain.
They’ve aced just about every single one thus far and don’t show signs of slowing down. Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and company (emphasis on the company, tonight) know how to bounce back, as evidenced by them having just one consecutive-game losing streak this season. Utah means business.