WELL, I didn’t see this coming. Three short weeks ago I was convinced that the Jazz weren’t a playoff team this year, no matter how many times Donovan Mitchell went HAM. 10 straight wins later and they are right back in the mix out West, but just how have they done it?
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LOOKING at the box scores over the past 10 outings there isn’t a ton that the Jazz has done differently compared to earlier in the season. They are defending the three-point shot better and scoring better, but those two things are usually associated with consecutive victories int he modern NBA.
A lot of individuals have improved their own games and in turn, that has boosted the team’s production as a whole. They regained Rudy Gobert from injury just before the streak begun and it’s no coincidence that teams are finding it much harder to score. They have been the best defensive rating in the league during the stretch and Gobert’s presence in the lane is undoubtedly a huge reason why.
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RUDY isn’t the only Jazz player who has been killing it, with Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles doing their best Splash Brothers impersonation. The pair has combined to make 49 of their 87 three-point attempts, good for a 56.3% clip. For Ingles, a career 41% shooter from deep, these lofty numbers aren’t too surprising. Rubio’s dominance from downtown, however, is a pleasant surprise, with the Spaniard flourishing during the streak.
BEFORE he went down with a hip injury Rubio was canning almost twice as many of his three-point tries during Utah’s streak (54.2%) compared to the other 46 games he’s played this season (29.2%). It’s surprising to see someone not named Donovan Mitchell lighting it up for the Jazz, but the stud rookie has seen his output fluctuate over the past three weeks. He had a two-point and a nine-point game in back-to-back outings a week ago, but that didn’t stop Utah from beating the Pelicans and Grizzlies by a combined 28 points.
MITCHELL couldn’t be contained for long as he has blown up for 25, 27 and 25 points in his last three. He became the second rookie ever to lead his team in scoring over a 10 game winning streak (at 19.5 PPG). The only other player did so back in 1959-60 and you may have heard of him before. His name is Wilt Chamberlain.
IT wasn’t like Utah played a bunch of easy beats in the past 10 games either. In their consecutive string of W’s they have beaten the Raptors, Warriors, Blazers and the Spurs, both on the road and at home. What makes them dangerous moving forwards and into the season post-All-Star break is the fact that not just one player is dominating. Each individual is performing just that little bit better, which has the whole team roasting their opponents. Whatever Quin Snyder is doing he needs to keep doing it.
WITH the Jazz on the cusp of sitting inside the playoff seedings out West. Their schedule to close out February and to kick start March is solid, but they still have two games against the Warriors and a date with San Antonio, Boston and Minnesota in their final 11. My prediction is that they either manage to scrape through for the eight spot or they are just on the outside looking in. Either way, there’s no stopping the Jazz right now and they aren’t showing any signs of returning to mortality*.
*Full disclosure if they lose to the Suns tomorrow night I will literally delete this entire article.
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