Rudy Gobert has been Utah’s best player this season, but even the best have down games.
Saturday night’s definitely qualified as that for Gobert, who finished with just five points on 2-9 shooting, in just 19 minutes on the court. The most ugly stat for Gobert, though, was in the plus-minus column: he finished as a -36 in a game the Jazz won by four.
“I just got my [expletive] kicked. I just wasn’t good tonight," Gobert said. "Props to coach for putting me on the bench, and putting [Derrick Favors] in, who had a great game.”
Time and time again, the Jazz struggled to contain the Bucks with Gobert playing. Thanks to Milwaukee’s big starting lineup, Gobert found himself guarding MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo during the game. But Antetokounmpo simply went through Gobert as if he wasn’t there on several possessions, while the more sturdy Favors found more success, and keyed many of the Jazz’s runs.
“I was happy for him. It’s not always easy, playing behind me. You want to finish the games and usually he doesn’t,” Gobert said. “Playing the way he plays anyway is just unbelievable, and just shows how much of a professional he is.”
And Favors appreciated Gobert’s support. “Some nights I don’t have it, and he goes out there and dominates,” Favors said. “So it’s something that both of us do, and I’m glad I have his support.”
That Gobert wasn’t pouting on the bench does differentiate him from some of the NBA’s stars, who may have made a stink if they had sat down the stretch, no matter what happened in the first few quarters.
“Everybody has a game like that, and it’s tough. I’ve had plenty of those games,” Donovan Mitchell said. “A lot of guys with his accolades, of his stature to let Fav play and do what he does, that’s stands out most. Not a lot of All-Star centers do that, and that’s big time.”
Jazz recognize kids suffering from rare and undiagnosed diseases
Before the game began, 32 children with rare and undiagnosed diseases were welcomed on to the Vivint Arena court to stand in front of the players during the singing of the national anthem.
Justin Zanik, assistant general manager of the Jazz, invited the group to the game, as he and wife Gina have three undiagnosed children. They were representing RUN (Rare and Undiagnosed Network), an organization that represents the 1 in 10 Utahns that suffers from such a disease.
"This moment at Saturday’s game [called] public attention to the challenges faced by children fighting rare and undiagnosed genetic conditions” said Gina Szajnuk, founder of RUN, in a statement given to media.