Mitchell And Gobert Find Chemistry Again On Floor For Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The relationship between Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell was one of the biggest storylines during the NBA’s four-month hiatus. On Mach 11, Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. The next morning, Mitchell became the second. The Jazz defeated the Miami Heat 101-99.
Reports quickly emerged that the All-Star guard was unhappy with Gobert’s cavalier attitude about the virus, and questions emerged on whether the two could co-exist again on the basketball floor.
If Saturday’s scrimmage between the Jazz and the Miami Heat was any indicator, the Jazz All-Star duo will be just fine. Gobert and Mitchell connected on three alley-oop passes in the first half helping the team jumpstart what had been a stalled offense during the team’s first game.
Mitchell repeatedly found Gobert on the pick and roll leading to easy baskets for the big man. When the Heat adjusted to Gobert’s attack, Mitchell gladly exploited the open mid-range jumper.
Both players said during the league’s suspension that they had moved past the rift, though how the two would look when they retook the floor remained a mystery. Gobert acknowledged finding success with Mitchell after the game.
“I think we’re trying to do anything for the team,” Gobert said. “We’re trying to make plays for one another, Passing to one another, screening, communicating on defense. Just try to do all the little things to help the team.”
The French big man finished the game with 21 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Gobert connected on 8-9 shots from the floor. Mitchell added eight points and four assists on 3-11 shooting.
“It’s time to put it behind us.,” Gobert said of the feud with Mitchell. “Find some more interesting things to talk about.”
With one scrimmage game left to play before reopening the season against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Jazz appear to have answered one of their major questions with Gobert and Mitchell as they prepare for a playoff run.
Jazz Up Three-Point Shooting Attempts
One of the Jazz biggest issues in game one against the Phoenix Suns was the lack of three-point field goal attempts. The Jazz attempted just 24 threes in 40 minutes against Phoenix. Though the team connected on a healthy 42 percent of their attempts, they passed up too many open looks.
Without the sharpshooting Bojan Bogdanovic, the team has to fill the void of 7.3 three-point attempts usually taken by the forward. Jazz coach Quin Snyder said finding those looks was a key to the team’s offense.
“We’ve been mainly a catch and shoot three-point team,” Snyder said of the Jazz. “In order for us to absorb those eight threes and hopefully have more, I think we have to shoot off the dribble more. We have some guys that can do that. Donovan [Mitchell], Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles. So we’ve got some guys that can shoot it.”
The Jazz found success taking more threes against Miami. The team finished with 41 attempts, nearly matching Thursday’s total (24) in the first half (21) alone. The Jazz didn’t have success knocking down the shots, connecting on just 12 attempts, though Snyder said he thinks the shots will eventually fall.
“Taking those shots may be as important as them making them,” Snyder said. “I think if they take them, we will make a fair share.”
The Jazz will face the Brooklyn Nets Monday in their final scrimmage in Orlando. The game tips off at 3:30 pm MT and will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.
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