Utah Jazz: Brotherly bond basically banishes bad vibes

Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

One uplifting display might work to correct the Utah Jazz’s gloomy outlook.

Ernie Johnson was dead wrong. See, when setting the stage for a Monday evening interview with two of the three Sixth Man of the Year finalists in second-unit Utah Jazz star attractions Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson, the NBA on TNT host said that “the timing on this is not ideal given what happened 24 hours ago.”


Rather, the ensuing surprise — a franchise-first SMOY honor that came out of the blue to Clarkson — seemed to provide the exact type of vibes that the squad needs right now.

What did go down the day prior, of course, was the No. 1 seed Jazzmen losing homecourt advantage right out of the gates in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Indeed, after entering the postseason with a league-best 52-20 record, the panic button instantly went on standby with Sunday’s 112-109 defeat in Salt Lake City at the hands of the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

Furthermore, there was the Donovan Mitchell to-play-or-not-to-play fiasco. By pretty much all accounts during the Utah Jazz’s doomsday-ish Monday, that confusing saga over the weekend wound up dumping some potentially unhealthy friction inside the organization.

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Yet now it appears as if Ingles and Clarkson at least temporarily changed the narrative for the team. No shock there. Besides, coming in to save the day just so happens to be a shared specialty of those two potent bench weapons.

A timely moment for the Utah Jazz

In case you missed it, the entire segment is below. To recap, though, Ernie Johnson led up to the sudden announcement with the same four questions to Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson.

He began by asking each to explain why the other would be deserving of this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. As for the final three questions, Johnson decided to give Ingles and Clarkson a brief quiz on their knowledge of SMOY history.

The only answer either of them botched was the last one: “How many Utah Jazz players have won it?” Clarkson, to no fault of his own at the time, was technically mistaken when he confidently raised his left hand and formed a goose egg with his fingers. On the other hand, Ingles got it right, although he technically cheated.

However, that’s the moment when the positive vibes truly erupted:

Ingles, flashing his signature grin while putting up one index finger before pointing both fingers at his teammate, already knew hours beforehand what was about to occur. He was in on the surprise. His secretiveness was the key to executing it.

And not only was Ingles’ humility highly admirable throughout the trophy presentation — which he personally conducted, by the way — but the manner in which he went on to call out NBA on TNT chatterbox Charles Barkley for switching the subject away from Clarkson was also nothing short of awesome.

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Friendly ribbing. Tons of smiles. Bro hugs. The power of all that, not to mention just the winning of something, surely can’t hurt the Utah Jazz in flipping the switch from utter dejection to unquestioned togetherness for Game 2, which tips at 8 p.m. MT Wednesday in the Vivint Arena.

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Granted, it also helps that Donovan Mitchell is slated to play and will probably be in the starting lineup. But this means both Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson should be able to assume their most effective roles as pure treasures off the bench.