SUMMARY: Jazz inch another step closer to the playoffs with a 117 to 110 win over the Lakers.
- The Lakers started red hot hitting 8 straight shots and not missing a shot until the 6:29 mark of the 1st quarter but the Jazz offense was good enough to match the Lakers all night and finally take control of the game.
- Ricky Rubio continues his torid play in this playoff push. Tonight he scored 31 points. This is the 5th time in his NBA career he has scored 30 or more points all 5 of them have happened since March 30th of last year. 4 of them this season with the Jazz. Rubio has increased his shooting volume and at the same time had a career high FG% and 3pt%. This is the first time he has had a coach that has given him an entire green light to play with freedom. Over the past 10 games prior to tonight he was averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He has made over 50% of his three point shots.
- Rubio has worked diligently with coach Igor Kokoskov to engage his hips is his shooting and engage his whole body. It seems to be working. He is playing with immense confidence
- The other thing that has become clear is how much Ricky Rubio understands Quins system. Early this year he was throwing the ball all over the gym with these bizarre crazy passes and now he understands how each play is designed and what Quin’s system is doing to the defense. One play that jumped out tonight was Rubio brought the ball up the court and had the elbow set where two men are waiting at the corner of the free throw line. One was Donovan and the other was Gobert. Rubio went to Donovan’s side and the play is for Donovan to flair back to Gobert’s side where he then gets the ball and a pick from Gobert but instead as Rubio ran off Mitchell he exploded to the basket and the defender had to grab him. This was the first time I had seen him do this. It really is a stress on the defense. Ingles is sitting in the corner so you don’t want to leave him and if Mitchell’s defender stay too attached to Mitchell then Rubio can beat his man and there is no one to help. Rubio didn’t do this earlier this year.
- Derrick Favors was great again tonight. He gives you so many options defensively and is making a ton of plays offensively. What I love is he came into the game as pure power and now there is a subtlety to his game. He is hitting little floaters. He is defending on the perimeter. He makes a ton of plays that others can’t make and lead to winning.
- The Jazz defense never slowed down the Lakers tonight. This was an offensive win.
- Donovan Mitchell is having a historic rookie season. Since 1958 the only rookies who have lead their team and scoring and won more games are Larry Bird (61) in 1979-80, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (56) in 1969-70, David Robinson (56) in 1989-90, Wilt Chamberlin (49) in 1959-60. In the last 20 years the only players that had more games with 20 or 25 points in a game are Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony. Tonight was Donovan’s 44th night with 20 or more points tying Kevin Durant’s rookie year.
- Donovan is the 7th player in 20 years to score 20 points a game as a rookie. It is remarkable.
- Rudy Gobert had 5 assists tonight to go with his 12 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. He is crazy good.
- Jazz have 26 of 31. According to fivethiryeight our playoff chances are up to 99%. YEAH !!!!!
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