Lake Buena Vista, Fla. • The Utah Jazz came into their trio of inter-squad scrimmages in Florida facing myriad questions about how the team could possibly replace the offensive production of the injured Bojan Bogdanovic.
Those scrimmages are now over, and so too might be those questions.
A few minutes into the third period of Monday’s 112-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, coach Quin Snyder pulled Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, and Joe Ingles for good, having apparently seen all he needed to.
“It’s great to see Joe come out really aggressive at the beginning of the game, Mike’s taking his shot — they’re all being as aggressive as we want,” Snyder said. “For a team that can shoot it, that will open up a lot of other things — and it has.”
Gobert had another monstrous night down low, hitting 6 of 8 shots and 8 of 10 free throws to rack up 20 points. That was thanks in part to his burgeoning pick-and-roll chemistry with Mitchell, who had four assists in the game — all of them to the big guy.
“We both are doing a great job on our end to make it easy for each other,” Mitchell said.
Of course, he and Conley did their part getting the ball through the hoop as well — especially from beyond the arc.
Mitchell converted all three of his tries from deep, and hit 5 of 7 shots overall for 14 points. Conley, meanwhile, was hot from the outset this time, shooting 7 for 11 in total and 4 of 6 on 3s, en route to 18 points.
And so, as the Jazz racked up a 16-point advantage shortly after halftime, Snyder decided to see what everyone else could bring.
A lineup featuring the likes of Ed Davis, Georges Niang, Royce O’Neale, Jordan Clarkson and Emmanuel Mudiay got off to a rough start, hemorrhaging points and blowing most of the lead before quickly stabilizing.
In the fourth quarter, it was a similar story, this time with Nigel Williams-Goss, Rayjon Tucker, Mike Oni, Jarrell Brantley, Juwan Morgan, and Justin Wright-Foreman all getting turns.
Though a Nets lineup featuring several rotation regulars got the lead down to two in the closing minutes, Brantley and Morgan converged to force a turnover, and Wright-Foreman converted an and-one as part of late seven-point burst to keep the Jazz in front for good.
Gobert said it’s been fun seeing the young guys get a chance to put the last couple games away.
“They did great. It’s great for those young guys to be able to get those minutes,” Gobert said. “They’ve been very focused defensively, and they’re trying to make the right play — and they’ve done it.”
Of course, the youngsters’ minutes are likely to all but disappear now that the three scrimmages are over and the eight “seeding games” — the ones that count — are coming up.
The Jazz will open the schedule up Thursday at 4:30 p.m. MDT against the Pelicans. The game will be broadcast on TNT.