1. Rudy Gobert was all we wanted to be
Rudy Gobert played at the absolute All-NBA level on Wednesday evening, at both ends of the floor.
When a misdemeanor was a monster: 23 points for 14 shots that show how he ended up around the rim he shows when it's best. Of course, there were dunks, but he also made hook shots (left-handed, even!) And storing the spoon as he finished contacting.
Joe Ingles explained what was happening when I asked. "A lot of teams now lift him on the free-throw line to stop his assassination, he was the other one tonight, leaving his five back and giving him a little free run," Ingles said.
But the defensive end was where I was really impressed, where Nets became an incredibly difficult way with the format that Defender Player of the Year won last year. Gobert finished with four blocks, but it was much more clear how Nets shot around the edge: only 11 of his 25 clippings were shot and just shot 5-19 on anything between the enclosed space and 14 feet out. I'm going to do math for you: that's a total of 16/44, because only 36% are shooting at the next ball in the basketball. That's a huge win.
"Gobert makes a huge difference," said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. "Even though they made a mistake, it's back there, apparently an elite presence on the edge, so we did not get a good look."
Interestingly, Ingles also said that Gobert's teammates were talking to him about getting a DPOY form. "What we really expect from him is what he did all his career, we all attacked him, we talked to him about it, I think he was a bit up and down this year, but he actually turned around and asked to the defensive end. "
Of course, he's not on the defensive end himself, and jazz guards have really improved even tonight. But when Gobert works like this, Jazz is really hard to beat.
2. Donovan Mitchell became semi-new
I do not think we can say that Mitchell was hot in the middle of the night "supernova". He made 12 of 24 wounds, exactly half, for 29 points. And in the fourth quarter he scored 14 points, which is good, but not as a "catastrophic explosion that sends most star stars" brilliant.
So I go with "semi-nova". In the fourth quarter he shot 6-11, both produced and missed heavy shots along with creating easy-looking ones. But that was precisely what Jazz needed, because most of the team had come "brown dwarf" before. Through three neighborhoods, Jazz shot only 6-22 out of three, splitting only two-thirds of their free throws and simply having difficulty playing the ball. You know, Jazz stuff.
And then Mitchell came and took over from his family and friends from NYC and neighboring areas.
In many ways, she gives credibility to what Dennis Lindsey told me on Tuesday that Jazz's punishment was difficult to evaluate without being outside Mitchell. "Donovan Mitchell, for example, lacks four games and three more parts, which is almost 30 percent of the season." What dilemmas it offends?
Jazz is this season 1-6 when Mitchell is missing some or all of the game, which means they are 9-6 when it's healthy. This is much better, and maybe it should ease some fears around Jazzland.
It's also proof that Donovan Mitchell is a star, no matter what the temperature is.
3. Two Jazz police officers, without Burks, pick up
With Alec Burks, Jazz needed some help from this evening. They got it from two unlikely sources, Royce O'Neale and Raul Neto.
O'Neale scored 13 points and hit all three of these three-point attempts when he first hit three sets in a regular season before last year's trading date. But I was encouraged that O'Neale actively took his shots rather than avoiding a long ball, as was the case in recent matches. It is only the third time this year that it has three or more. (Say it three times.)
When O'Neale goes through open shots, he kills an offense and rewards defense for helping him. At the start of the game, Jazz on the floor was overtaken by 12.2 points per 100 properties and O'Neale on the ground, a drastic turn from +10 last season. Such games give reason to optimism that they can find this level again.
Neto's game relied heavily on mid-range shooting, something Jazz could use more against certain lineups. Keep in mind that Brooklyn players play deep in color, so the space for jumpers in the middle. Jazz wanted to be smart when he took those shots and did not take too much, but if other things do not work, the center range may become a choice. At least mid-shot is not a turn, and Neto has avoided tonight.
Meanwhile, Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum had a deep offensive night, though both of them contributed defensively. Rubio made a zero shot (other than his six free throws) for nine attempts, including 0-5 from a 3-point range. But Neto gained considerable time – almost 16 minutes – because Dante Exum continued to fight. He played just in seven minutes after giving three huge turns in the first half. When he played in the second half, he dropped the ball in place of two guards.
Kyle Korver should be able to help with this problem with the guard and obviously improve Jazz fire until he can defeat the floor. Another analysis tomorrow.