The Jazz’s star power played a big part in Tuesday’s comeback victory over the Nets, of course, what with Donovan Mitchell pouring in 30 points and six rebounds, Rudy Gobert contributing 18 points, 15 boards, two blocks, and two steals, and Mike Conley adding 18 points and five assists.
Conley and Mitchell, meanwhile, stole the postgame locker room show with their organically unfolding O.G. and Young Blood routine about the travails of aging and fatherhood.
Still, the players did what they could to put as much of the focus as possible on the supporting cast.
A cursory glance at the box score would tell you the Jazz’s bench was outscored by the Nets’ 47-33, but that would only be part of the story.
For starters, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jeff Green combined for 28 points, but the majority of those came in the first 5 minutes of the 4Q, when Utah swung the momentum for good.
“Obviously, Jeff and Emmanuel being able to make those plays was probably the biggest reason we win the game,” said coach Quin Snyder.
“It’s safe to say, without their push, we don’t win this game,” agreed Mitchell. “Big credit to those two in particular.”
Meanwhile, Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles were similarly lauded for the work they did on the other end in making life difficult for Kyrie Irving.
“Royce has been playing top-notch defense this whole year — that’s nothing new. He always has the tough assignment, game in and game out, and he’s shown up,” said Green. “And this is just a testament of the guy that he is — willing to sacrifice it all on the defensive end. And he’s been doing a great job.”
And while Ingles shot 0 for 6 overall (including 0 of 4 from deep), Snyder said his defense more than made up for it.
“He’s gotta keep getting 3s up, and they’ll go in, but it doesn’t matter when you defend like that when the game’s on the line,” he said.
The end result? Even if the role players don’t put up the gaudiest stat lines, the Jazz like where their depth is at.
“We have a lot of guys who can come in, whether it’s offense or defense,” Mitchell said. “… That’s what they give us — that spark. It’s always there — they’re always there, they’re always ready. That’s gonna be huge, especially late in the season.”
In case you missed it
As ugly as Tuesday’s victory proved to be, Monday’s win over the Warriors in San Francisco was an example of how effective the Jazz’s offense can be. Meanwhile, Donovan was back in the same building with Team USA assistant Steve Kerr on that night, and the Warriors coach was effusive in his praise of the young star.
Meanwhile, I wrote about young center Tony Bradley getting a chance to prove himself with Ed Davis out, while Andy B. Larsen had a nice feature about how many Jazz players were multi-sport athletes growing up.
And columnist Gordon Monson wrote about how Bojan Bogdanovic is helping to spark the Jazz to a better start this year, and how that could potentially also mean a better finish.
Other people’s stuff …
While a certain Jazz beat writer recently lamented on social media Jazz beat writers not sharing the good work of other Jazz beat writers, may I humbly remind you all that “Other people’s stuff …” is a recurring feature in the Weekly Run newsletter?
Now then …
• Ben Dowsett of Forbes Sports wrote about how Quin’s system is one of the most technically complex in the NBA, and how a byproduct of that is players needing time to absorb it all.
• Mike Sorensen (NOT Sorenson) of the Deseret News caught up with longtime Jazz guard Alec Burks on Monday in San Francisco, and while AB was his usual reticent self, he did manage a few words about his continuing love for Utah.
• After the last-second win against Milwaukee, Tony Jones of The Athletic wrote about how the Jazz are proving themselves against some of the league’s best teams.
• Aaron Falk of utahjazz.com wrote about Dante Exum’s continuing work toward a hopefully-nearing return from injury.
•And, to bookend with this thing with a pair of Bens, Ben Anderson of KSLsports.com wrote about how Bogey has proven to be one of the best free-agent signings of the summer.
Friday is sure to be a tear-jerker. Yes, we’ll get to see another pair of recently departed Jazzmen in Jae Crowder and Grayson Allen. But the game against the Grizzlies will be better known for Mike Conley’s return to Memphis. After that, the Jazz have a home-and-home series against Minnesota, with the Wolves coming to Vivint Arena on Monday, and Utah visiting the Target Center next Wednesday.