It’s gotta be the purple mountain jerseys, right?
Then again, perhaps the Jazz’s still-evolving roster finally found some of that instinctiveness that coach Quin Snyder referenced pregame. Or maybe the Kings’ defense really is just avert-your-eyes awful.
Whatever the reason, the Jazz buried their overmatched visitors with an avalanche of 3-pointers on Saturday night, rolling to a 113-81 victory at Vivint Smart Home Arena in a game that was effectively over by halftime.
“It was much-needed. Our defense has really carried over the past few games, and tonight our offense picked up, too,” said point guard Mike Conley. “So to see it all jell together and guys have great nights was a lot of fun to do.”
Forward Bojan Bogdanovic, just returned to the lineup from a left ankle sprain, was every bit the swaggering sharpshooter the front office envisioned upon signing him in free agency, draining 10 of 18 shots en route to 26 points (including 20 by halftime).
The Croatian was clearly thrilled to be playing and to be thriving, seemingly celebrating every made shot, including a high-stepping backpedal at one point.
In turn, his teammates were thrilled to see his success impact their own.
“He might need to take a couple more games off if he comes back like that every time,” Conley joked.
As for the point guard, after shooting a combined 4 for 27 in the first two games, he totaled 12 points, eight assists and only two turnovers, while hitting 5 of 11 attempts.
And a Utah team that had made just 14 total 3-pointers in its first two games combined wound up drilling 13 in the first half alone against the Kings, and finished 18 for 37 from beyond the arc for the game (48.6%).
The end result was a performance that finally approximated the fully-realized vision of what this team was envisioned to be when assembled this summer.
Considering Game 1 of the season vs. OKC featured a mediocre offensive performance, and Game 2 in Los Angeles on Friday night was worse still, Utah’s third contest of the 2019-20 campaign somehow felt long overdue.
“We all live long enough to have good days and bad days. The way our team responded from last night is the significant thing,” Snyder said. “Bojan playing obviously helped. But you don’t just forget about a performance that’s not to the level that you want — you respond to it, try to make adjustments to it.”
The Jazz certainly cleaned up many of the issues that plagued them the night before against the Lakers.
For starters, taking care of the basketball. By halftime vs. Sacramento, Utah had only six turnovers. They had that many after the first quarter in L.A. Meanwhile, the Jazz had 17 assists at the break.
“Against the Lakers, we did a great job defensively, but they scored  points off turnovers,” center Rudy Gobert noted. “Tonight we didn’t have that. And it was hard for them to get anything going, get any confidence.”
Furthermore, after losing the rebounding battle against both the Thunder and Lakers, Utah dominated the boards vs. the Kings, finishing with a 43-30 advantage.
Meanwhile, the defense that had propelled Utah in those games was more apparent still vs. Sacramento. With that team deriving much of its typical offensive success via transition buckets, it was all the more impressive that the Kings had zero fast-break points in the opening half, and just four for the game. Star guards De’Aaron Fox (3 of 9 shooting; nine points) and Buddy Hield (1 of 7; three points) could not get anything going.
“The best thing about this team is no matter how we play offensively, that doesn’t get us off on the defensive end,” Bogdanovic said. “Great effort once again by Donovan and Mike.”
Given all of that, the Jazz could get away with relatively quiet statistical nights from Donovan Mitchell (who shot 6 of 9 for a hyper-efficient 15 points, to go along with four assists, while frequently bolstering the second unit) and Gobert (who totaled six points, six rebounds, and a block).
After all, it was a Bogdanovic kind of night.
As Gobert was being asked afterward how happy he was for Bogey to finally have a breakout game, Mitchell interjected, “It won’t be the last!”