The first game is in the books for the Utah Jazz. Jazz are now undefeated (technicalities can be your friend) with a 123-117 win on the road against the Sacramento Kings. The Jazz started the game very slowly, falling behind by 16 points early in the 1st quarter. They managed to rally and come back within 5 by the end of the quarter. They led for the majority of the game after that, there was a stretch where the two teams traded the lead a few times but the Jazz stayed in command of the game for the majority of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters. While watching the game, here are a few thoughts I had concerning what the Jazz did well as a team and what they need to improve on if they want to protect their home court against the Warriors on Friday:
#1 Starting out strong in the backcourt. The starting guards, Rubio and Mitchell, need to come out of the gate wheeling and dealing. They both got to a slow start and weren’t as effective as we got used to seeing last season. Rubio only had one point, which came from a technical free-throw. He didn’t make any of his shots and he attempted four of them. To go along with his shooting woes he only dished out four assists. Mitchell started out very slowly as well but he picked it up as the game progressed. He deceptively scored 24 points but on 38% shooting, which isn’t that great. He never found his offensive rhythm in this game, we desperately need him to find it for our home opener though.
Their bench in this game was on point. Exum, Burks, and Crowder each contributed 13 points and much needed energy into the game. The Jazz’s front office staff did a great job with filling out this roster. They gave Utah a very deep bench and several weapons coach Snyder has at his command. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dante Exum’s name shows up in the running for the Most Improved Player of the Year award at the end of this season. He has run into roadblocks every season he has played in the NBA . Last season it was a hamstring injury he suffered in the preseason against the Pheonix Suns, in 2015 he suffered an ACL tear while playing for the Australian national team. He was the fifth overall pick in his draft class so he has no shortage of talent so I can see a MIP award in his future.
Play in the paint. The two bigs, Gobert and Favors both contributed tremendously with 19 and 15, and 18 and 9 (points and rebounds) respectively. And to make their stat lines even more impressive is they both shot higher than 75% from the field. Gobert shot a perfect 5 for 5 from the free throw line. Ever since he came into the league free throws were always something that he has struggled with. Last season his hard work in the department was very visible because of the improvement he made. just from this one game and from the 5 free throws he attempted and made, his form looks smoother and he looks more confident in his shot.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 18, 2018