Utah Jazz-Milwaukee Bucks react: The Jazz are finally fun again

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio of the Utah Jazz take the court against the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio of the Utah Jazz take the court against the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Utah Jazz took control late in the third quarter to stifle the Milwaukee Bucks,121-108, on a franchise-high 18 3-point makes.

It’s five games into the season. A man “from the future” claims the Utah Jazz just put up 121 points against the Milwaukee Bucks. Oh, and they did it on a franchise-record 18 3-point shots. And 6-of-10 from the 3-point line from rookie Donovan Mitchell. And the catalyst for this offensive explosion? Rudy Gobert out with injury.

You’d never believe it.

At the time, Mitchell had the league’s lowest field goal percentage, while the Jazz had a bottom three offense and were one of the worst shooting teams all-around. Rodney Hood was looking like he would break under the load and Ricky Rubio was our leading scorer.

My how things have changed.

I can’t say enough good things about the team effort lately, and the players really keeping the Jazz relevant. Namely, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Raul Neto (of all people), Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Donovan Mitchell.

Story of the night

You would think I would mention 3-point barrage; where the Jazz were 18-of-32 at 56 percent. Well I just did, but I think the key here is actually not the hot 3-point shooting. Even if the team’s percentage was at a more realistic 37 percent, the Jazz would have made 11 or 12 and still would have won the game.

No, the key here is ball movement, unselfishness, spacing and Quin Snyder’s offensive scheming. The Jazz tied a season-high assist mark of 31. The other night we matched that mark? The 40-point victory over the Orlando Magic. 

Check out the ball movement on this play.

I said it earlier this year, but the Jazz looked like they weren’t having fun out there and were in their own heads a little. Now the camaraderie is there and things are clicking.

At the half, the Jazz were up seven points, 64-57, (another 60-point first half post-Rudy Gobert injury) and Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 15 points. The concern to start the second half was that our shooting wasn’t sustainable.

Eric Bledsoe then went on a tear and the Bucks took a lead late in the third quarter. This was the danger zone for the Jazz. They simply didn’t have the athleticism to match Bledsoe on the defensive end. Give him credit because thus far, he’s struggled in a Bucks uniform.

But as soon as he went to the bench, Rodney Hood’s newly found killer-instinct took in and he helped drive the lead up to 10 going into the fourth quarter.

This is a first quarter play, but I still want to show off Hood being aggressive. He dunked it twice against the Bucks!

During the key stretch where the Jazz started to take over (see “hot-shooting” and “Rodney Hood”), Favors and Mitchell had back-to-back defensive stops on Giannis, like this glorious and beautiful block by Favors.

Quick note on Mitchell’s game

Mitchell had what was arguably his best game of the season and (bold take) it wasn’t even his scoring or shooting that stood out most.

He did have some highlight buckets, though.

What’s actually most impressive is that he’s having such an impact on the game outside of his ability to score the basketball at-will and with ease.

He is literally learning and developing leaps and bounds at a game-by-game pace. It’s remarkable to watch.

Overall, this was the most fun the Jazz have been all season. I hope it’s not too early for me to say they are hitting our stride now. And please can they just wear the gold jerseys every game? That may be the real secret.