Career nights from Rubio and O’Neale propel Jazz to improbable win in San Antonio
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: Ricky Rubio and Royce O’Neale lead the Utah Jazz to an improbable win on the road v the San Antonio Spurs
- The Jazz had every reason to tap out on this one. They were on the back end of a back to back. The plane to San Antonio had issues and the team arrived at the hotel at 5:45 am and then right before tip off it was announced Donovan Mitchell wasn’t going to be able to go with the flu.
- The Jazz took the lead at 13-12 with 6:06 left in the 1st quarter and never relinquished the lead.
- The Jazz lead by as many as 14 in the 2nd quarter and in the 2nd half the Spurs started pecking away at the lead. In the 3rd quarter, the Spurs were playing really well and the Jazz held them off until a Danny Green three at the buzzer cut the game to 9. The Spurs would get it down to a point at 94-93 with 7:29 in the 4th quarter then the Jazz moved it back to 9 before the Spurs would rally again and cut it to three but the Jazz never gave up the lead.
- Ricky Rubio was unreal in the first half. He hit three straight mid range shots to start the quarter and then he got rolling. He nailed back to back three point shots and finished a layup and was 6 for 6 with 14 points. By halftime he was 9 for 9 with 23 points.
- Twice Rubio drove the basket and faked a bounce pass off the dribble, but kept the dribble alive and then found either that man again or another cutter. I have never seen someone fake a bounce pass while on the move and maintain their dribble.
- In the 2nd half Rubio had 5 assists and added 11 points. He finished with a career high 34 points and 9 assist. He was aggressive. He is making his layups which opens up the rest of the game for him and keeps his aggressive approach. When he lacks the confidence in his layup then he is more tentative on his drives, the pick and roll and in the open floor and he doesn’t have the same impact.
- Royce O’Neale continued his very strong play. He has a well rounded game. First, he plays really hard. He is a good ball handler, he is a good passer, he is a good rebounder, he is physical defensively and he knocked down shots tonight. He finished with a career high 18 points, on 6 of 7 shooting and 4 of 4 from 3. He added 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
- O’Neale had the play of the night. With the Jazz leading by 3 and the Spurs with the ball. It would be the only possession all game where the Spurs could have tied the game. O’Neale anticipated the pass up top stole the ball and went the length of the court for a hammer dunk. It put the Jazz up 5 with 1:29 to play. An incredible play to jump the passing lane in that kind of moment.
- Earlier in the 4th the Spurs cut the game to 3 and O’Neale hit a corner 3 and then the next time the Spurs cut the game to 2 and O’Neale hit the same corner 3 to make it a 5 point game. Those were mammoth.
- Rodney Hood returned tonight and despite being on a minute restriction was able to make an impact. He nailed a huge three and had a great drive to the basket in the 2nd
- This was an offensive win. The Jazz defense didn’t have the impact it has been having recently. Tonight was all offensive. The offense has scored over 120 in three straight games for the first time since 1992.
- Quin Snyder did some interesting things with his substitutions tonight . He played Neto and Rubio together for key moments. He played O’Neale huge moments. He rolled with Favors for a long time in the 4th quarter and then closed with Rudy Gobert. He managed the game with Rodney’s minute restriction. There were a lot of decisions to make and it felt as though Quin got the most out of the players tonight.
- Jazz hit on 12 of 23 from three. In the last 4 games the Jazz are 51 of 101 from three. That will win you a lot of games.
- The Jazz flat out defied the odds tonight. To get that done they had to have two career nights and they got them from Ricky Rubio and Royce O’Neale.
JAZZ GAME REWIND: 2nd Half propels Toronto past the youthful Jazz
The Jazz fell short in the second half as the Toronto defense shut the new-look Jazz down in route to cruising to an 114 – 82 Raptors victory. Lauri Markkanen shined for the Jazz with 20 points and 5 rebounds but the Raptors length and athleticism proved to be too much for the Jazz riding a dominant 3rd quarter to pull away from the Jazz who played well in the first half, only trailing by one.
Relive the game through the radio highlights. Voiced by Leif Thulin.
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