SUMMARY: The Utah Jazz are in the playoffs !!
- This season is remarkable. From the loss against Miami when it felt like the Jazz would never score to the loss in Atlanta that was the nadir of the season to all the moments in between when it felt as though the road back to the playoffs was going to arduous and long this is stunning.
- The Jazz played a Lakers team tonight without Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram and did exactly what they should have done. They jumped to a 19-4 lead and while the Lakers cut the deficit the Jazz never trailed in the game and eventually lead by 20 en route to a blow out win over the Lakers.
- Joe Ingles had his first 20-10 game of his career. He torched the Lakers early in the game taking advantage of Alex Caruso’s inability to defend.
- My favorite play of the night was Ingles had Thomas Bryant guarding him on the perimeter and could have easily taken him one on one but instead he drove on an angle to his left toward Royce O’Neale who started moving toward Ingles took the pitch on a tight curl and knowing that the Lakers would switch meant that the lumbering Bryant would have to change directions and then contain O’Neale. He had no chance and O’Neale got the layup.
- That play is what this team is about. First, it is smart. O’Neale had a head of steam and by making Bryant change directions it was a much harder play to defend. More importantly, it was selfless and teamwork. The premise of this team is built on sharing the ball, moving the defense and making them react. Ingles could have gone one on one and probably would have been fine. That is not the personality Quin Snyder has built in this team. From day one Quin Snyder preached obvious unselfishness. This play was obvious unselfishness. This play fosters togetherness. This play nurtures the possession when the ball will move again and the next one after that and so forth. A principle of Quin Snyder’s philosophy is that when everyone is involved offensively then everyone stays engaged defensively. This play is the 2017-28 Utah Jazz in its simplest form.
- Moreover, that play puts both Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale who are undrafted players, that started their careers in Europe after being unable to get training camp invites in the NBA in positions to be successful. Joe is a strong ball handler, who understand angles, system and how to put his teammates in positions to succeed. Going 1 on 1 on a mismatch is not his strength. O’Neale is a powerful driver, but he isn’t tricky with the dribble, he is not an off the bounce threat to pull up for three. On the move he is strong for his position, he is quick enough to turn the corner and he plays with a force that gets him to the rim. All the reasons these guys didn’t get drafted are still there but in this system they aren’t asked to play in that manner. Instead, they are asked to play smart and together. That is why they are successful.
- Derrick Favors was +30. His 13 rebounds were a season high
- Jae Crowder was vital tonight with 18 points and his 2nd quarter kept the Jazz in control of the game.
- Donovan had a robust line with 28 points, 9 rebounds (all defensive) and 8 assists.
- The Jazz have won 28 of 33 and 15 of their last 16 on the road.
- PLAYOFFS!!!! If Jazz win out they are the 3rd seed
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