New York • Call it a perfect 10.
The Jazz landed in their latest destination, this time Brooklyn, and won their latest in a double-digit string of victories on Tuesday night by a score of 118-107 over the Nets.
This remarkable run — 10 straight since acquiring Jordan Clarkson and waiving Jeff Green, and 15 of their last 16 overall — pushed the Jazz up to a 28-12 record and second place in the Western Conference. And this game was a solid microcosm of the run.
“Give them credit. What you saw tonight backs up their stellar play recently. They’ve been the No. 1 offense over the last 15, 20 games and we could never find a way to stop them,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Just that simple. Transition defense, pick-and-roll defense, rebounding, physicality, all that stuff. I think they just dominated.”
The Jazz didn’t play their absolute best — Donovan Mitchell struggled early in his return from illness, clearly not quite yet 100%. In the first half especially, Mitchell forced the action a little, shooting just 1 of 7 from the field and adding a couple of turnovers. And in the second half, he missed his signature dunk — with his legs spread askew, Mitchell came up short of the hoop on his one-handed attempt.
But in the fourth, Mitchell took over, scoring 14 in the quarter on a series of shifty moves to the rim. Mitchell made tough shots look easy, sealing the win for the Jazz against a Nets team that wanted its way back into the game.
“I had to give my team something, I was struggling all game,” Mitchell said. “I was obviously a little under the weather, but I think my teammates trusted me in those moments, just taking the ball to the rim and being aggressive.”
The other Jazzmen were terrific throughout the contest. Joe Ingles’s ability to shoot from anywhere on the court, especially with his pull-up 3-pointer, caused Brooklyn problems all night. He finished with 27 points (tying his career high) on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from 3. Remarkably, it’s his sixth game scoring 27; this time, he got point No. 27 with 7:46 left in the game, but never scored again.
It was Utah’s No. 27 who took control early. Rudy Gobert took control of the game with a remarkable second-quarter run that showed the very best of his play. On defense, Gobert was swarming everywhere, cutting off the Nets’ supply of points for several minutes. Meanwhile, he was aggressive at the rim, getting lob finishes and putbacks, even one-on-one drives for two points against the Nets’ Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan.
“I thought Rudy Gobert was terrific,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “It was a dominant performance by him on both ends of the floor.”
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving brought his A-game to his second game back from injury; he scored 32 points on 12-of-19 FG, including 3 of 5 from the 3-point line. He also added 11 assists, meaning he was responsible for a majority of the Nets’ scoring on the night. Mitchell and Irving exchanged jerseys after the game.
“He’s a guy that is one of the best guards in the league, so it’s pretty cool to be able to exchange jerseys with him,” Mitchell said. “Look at how he took over the game in the fourth. I try to implement that in my game as well, no matter how the night is going.”
In the last four weeks, nights have gone extremely well for Utah.