A Utah Jazz Community
This is an updated look at the NBA playoff picture and how it relates to the Utah Jazz.
What happened Sunday
Sunday was, for all intents and purposes, a very good day for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz handily defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 121-97 on the road behind Ricky Rubio’s team-high 23 points.
“This game was huge,” Rubio said. “I’ve been feeling comfortable for the last couple months, filled with a lot of confidence, and playing here was emotional. At the same time I knew it was a huge game so I focused myself to really have a big game.”
With the victory, Utah improved to 44-33 on the season and has now won two consecutive games and seven of the last 10.
Fellow and likely future Western Conference playoff participants Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio all walked away with a win as well, as did playoff hopeful Denver.
The Thunder defeated the New Orlean Pelicans 111-104, San Antonio knocked off Houston 100-83, and the Trail Blazers handled the Memphis Grizzlies 113-98.
The Nuggets picked a huge win for their playoff hopes, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 128-125 in overtime.
A couple of playoffs hopefuls were not as fortunate. The Clippers lost to the Pacers 111-104, and the Pelicans, as previously mentioned, came up short against Thunder.
How this affects the Jazz
Sunday's win moved Utah into the sixth spot in the conference standings, half a game behind the fifth-seeded Thunder (45-33), who own the tiebreaker. The Jazz also stand a half game ahead of the seventh-place Timberwolves (44-34), with whom they split the season series.
Utah remains just a game behind the Spurs (45-32) for the fourth seed in the West, with the third-seeded Trail Blazers (48-29) and their four-game advantage likely to be too much for Utah to make up with just five games remaining in the regular season.
Perhaps more important than seeding, the Jazz are now...
SALT LAKE CITY — For the second game in a row, the Utah Jazz could be without starting point guard Ricky Rubio.
Rubio is listed as questionable with left hamstring soreness for Sunday’s game against his former Minnesota Timberwolves team.
He also missed Friday’s home game over Memphis with the same injury, but the Jazz were still able to win, 107-97, with Dante Exum stepping to score a season-high 21 points off the bench up in his absence.
“It was different without him, but (Dante Exum) was huge in the last quarter,” Jazz forward Joe Ingles said of playing without Rubio. “He had to get on the rim and go and make plays for other guys, some steals at the end. It was a huge part of getting that lead up.”
Rubio is extremely familiar with Minnesota.
He spent the first six seasons of his career in a Timberwolves jersey before being traded to the Jazz for a 2018 first-round pick on June 30. He still holds the second-most assists in franchise history (2,991), but never won more than 40 games or reached the postseason throughout that stretch.
With six regular season games remaining, Rubio has already logged 43 victories with the Jazz as they sit in the seventh spot on the Western Conference standings with a serious chance to jump as high as fifth. Rubio averages a career-best 12.8 points, 5.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds this season.
Although he hasn’t had any playoff experience in the NBA, the Spaniard has been a professional since the age of 14. Rubio has also won EuroLeague, Spanish League, FIBA EuroChallenge and ULEB Cup championships with clubs overseas, so he’s not...
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: Jazz get a needed win win over a tanking Grizzlies team highlighted by a Dante Exum explosion
• I think the Jazz are worn down. They don’t seem as sharp as they were earlier in the stretch. But this has been grueling. Everyone is playing huge minutes. Every game is a must win. Every moment is intensified. Shots are falling short. The defense tonight wasn’t sharp. This has been an unreal run by this group to be back in the playoff chase and it has taken a toll on everyone involved. The team is doing its best to keep the guys as fresh as they can be. They are shortening practices, taking shootaround off but the wear on these guys is real right now. I am not sure if and when they re-gain their bounce. Though I am not sure the other teams in the playoff run are in any different circumstances.
• The Jazz have had slow starts the last few games and it was a focus tonight to make sure they didn’t have that issue. They didn’t. They lead 20-10 and 29-14 at the end of the 1st quarter. The 14 points was the fewest allowed all season.
• Then the game lost its energy. Marc Gasol went bananas. He ended up with 28 points on 11 of 12 shooting. He took over the game and the Jazz couldn’t get stops. The Grizzlies hit on 26 of 39 shots in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. They outscored the Jazz 60 to 52 in that stretch. The Jazz couldn’t stop Gasol and really couldn’t stop the Grizzlies.
• The Jazz offense won the game tonight. They struggled on the above the break 3 again for most of the night but they were good in the 2 point range and they generated 7 corner 3s. Unofficially, the jazz were 5 of 17 on above the break 3. They are below 30% since the all-star break.
• Dante Exum was fabulous tonight. His speed is special and he looks like he is learning how to use it. He is getting into the paint at will and he has shown a...
SALT LAKE CITY — The real Donovan Mitchell isn’t Utah Jazz player No. 45 or the slam dunk champion that the basketball world has fallen in love with.
The real Donovan Mitchell is a momma’s boy, who is close with his family, and isn’t much different from most 21-year-olds off the court.
An original 15-part Young Hollywood series will introduce the world to the real Donovan Mitchell through an exclusive digital docu-series that kicks off around 1 p.m. MDT Tuesday, April 3.
Mitchell’s life will be the subject of “Rookie On The Rise,” which will offer viewers a behind-the-scenes look at his first season in the NBA.
“I think they’re going to see the real personal side of him because now it’s a bunch of fresh after-game press interviews and locker room-type stuff, but this is real intimate,” said R.J. Williams, Young Hollywood’s founder and CEO. “We’re in his hotel, eating with him, what does he eat before the game? Why does he choose the haircut that he chooses? Why does he decide which sneakers he’s going to wear for the slam dunk contest?”
Young Hollywood launched in 2007 and has grown a reputation for shining a spotlight on the top up-and-coming stars in entertainment, previously working with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga.
Mitchell is one of the first sports star to be featured on the platform, and the series will be available on Young Hollywood TV, Apple TV, Amazon and Facebook Watch.
Each episode will last two to five...
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