Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert Praises Team After Solid Performance vs. Pelicans

Mar 27, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) blocks the shot of New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) blocks the shot of New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

After a stellar performance in the Utah Jazz’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans last night, Rudy Gobert was full of nothing but praise for his teammates.

The Utah Jazz earned a much-needed win on Monday night as they toppled the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 108-100. Both teams were missing key players as the Jazz were without All-Star Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks while the Pelicans played without recently acquired DeMarcus Cousins.

The win was a big confidence booster as it allowed some guys who have struggled lately such as Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles and George Hill to get back on track in wake of Hayward’s absence. The three of them combined for 56 points on 21-of-43 (.488) shooting from the field and 12-of-18 (.667) from deep, thanks largely to Ingles’ perfect 5-of-5 outing from behind the arc.


While it was great to see them get their mojo back (and hopefully it will be something that sticks from here on out), perhaps it was even better to see Rudy Gobert continue his absolute dominance on both ends of the floor. The Stifle Tower finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 (.727) shooting while adding 19 rebounds and five blocks.


Gobert didn’t necessarily completely contain Anthony Davis who had a phenomenal game himself with 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting, but he certainly did enough to give the Jazz the win.

And as if Rudy’s on-court performance wasn’t enough, he did a superb job with his post-game comments as well. At the conclusion of the game, which was a TNT Players Only broadcast, former WNBA player Lisa Leslie asked Gobert several questions about himself and his play, but with each response he focused his answers solely on the play of the team as a whole.

When asked to describe what it’s like to cover Anthony Davis, he mainly praised his Pelicans opponent for his solid play, but then added that “as a team, [they] did a pretty good job (of containing Davis).”

Next, his status as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate was brought up and Leslie asked him why he would vote for himself to win the award, to which Rudy answered the following:

"“You know I think it’s just about the impact, but my motivation is just to be good as a team, you know, get stops as a team and to me if I get it or not it doesn’t matter…It’s just about a team that keeps getting better.”"

I loved how Rudy used one single and accurate phrase to describe his argument for deserving the Defensive Player of the Year Award – “it’s just about the impact” – and then he went right on to talk about his teammates, mentioning that regardless of whether he wins the award or not, it’s all about getting stops as a team and making the team as a whole better.

That’s the sound of an unselfish leader. That’s the sound of a guy who has already proven that he’s going to bring his A-game night in and night out, but that understands that he’s only going to be as good or successful as his teammates around him.

You can watch that interview in its entirety below:

It was good to hear Rudy praise the team so much as it should help calm the recent concerns of discord in the Jazz locker room, particularly following the strong words he had to say about his teammates after the loss to Los Angeles last Saturday. Those remarks had many believing that Gobert’s statements could potentially divide the team, but Rudy showed in his post-game interview and the Jazz proved on the floor last night that such is not the case.

Furthermore, as you can see in the tweets below from KSL’s Andy Larsen, according to George Hill it seems that Rudy had a good learning experience after voicing his frustration after the loss to the Clippers. It was a “blow-off-steam” moment which I still think could end up paying dividends for this Jazz team if his words are taken and used the correct way and if both Rudy and the team are truly able to learn from them.

Gobert’s focus on paying his regards to the team last night is a good sign that the issues that arose Saturday in LA have indeed been nipped in the bud and that Rudy and his teammates are simply ready to play winning basketball once again.

It was also good to see that some players who haven’t had much of an impact lately were able to step up last night which served as a much-needed reminder of just how dangerous this Jazz team can be when clicking on all cylinders.

If those guys can maintain their elevated level of play and if Hayward and Favors can both make a healthy and seamless return to the lineup by the season’s end (or much sooner as should be the case for Hayward), then this Jazz team may very well find a way to overcome their recent woes and end up peaking at just the right time.

That’s going to be a tall task, especially considering how much Favors has struggled all season, but it certainly isn’t outside of the realm of possibilities.

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Yet regardless of how things pan out in the injury department, after a tough streak of losing four out of five games that culminated with Gobert’s comments about guys on the team failing to compete, it was a sight for sore eyes to see the Jazz come together last night and find a way to click while getting several guys on the roster significantly involved in the win.

That’s the kind of basketball that has earned the Jazz the fourth seed in the West up to this point and that’s the sort of play that they’ll have to learn to consistently maintain if they hope to earn home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and make some noise in the postseason.

All stats courtesy of NBA.com