Jazz Start 2021 Fresh With Win Over Clippers

Jan 1, 2021, 10:17 PM | Updated: 10:23 pm
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz goes against the Los Angeles Clippers Paul George (Photo by Alex ...
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz goes against the Los Angeles Clippers Paul George (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz won their first home game of the season, kicking off 2021 with a bang after beating the Los Angeles Clippers 106-100 at Vivint Arena.

Though the Jazz got the win, it was far from perfect. The team built leads of 18 and 20 points in the first and second halves, only to have the Clippers trim the margins to one point on both occasions.

However, the Jazz answered the Clippers runs throughout the evening to earn a crucial victory before heading out on a seven-game road trip across the East coast.

Conley’s Excellence Continues

Mike Conley’s excellence has continued from his play in the Orlando bubble last season through the first five games this year. Conley is the Jazz leading scorer this season averaging 21.4 points per game.

Conley had a game-high 33 points against the Clippers including seven made threes to seal the Jazz victory. The guard’s play has been paramount so far with Donovan Mitchell struggling to shoot the ball from the field and Bojan Bogdanovic’s shot coming and going by the quarter.

The game marked Conley’s first 30 point game in a Jazz uniform, and his first since his final game for the Memphis Grizzlies on March 30, 2019, when he also scored 33 points.

“I’m just happy to be able to see this thing grow, myself included,” Conley said. “Because last year was a tough year. Just went through a lot, personally, on and off the court. It was a tough year.”

The veteran guard has now scored 20 points or more in 10 of the Jazz last 16 games going back to the Orlando bubble.

Ingles And Favors Excellent Play

The Jazz got the play from Derrick Favors and Joe Ingles off the bench that they expected after signing the familiar face in the offseason. The former Jazzman had a 14 point, 11 rebound double-double in 23 minutes of play.

Ingles had 11 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in 32 minutes.

“Joe’s performance was just terrific,” Snyder said after the game. “And [Favors] came in with Rudy in foul trouble and gave us really good minutes.”

Though the pick and roll with Ingles was key to his offensive efficiency, it was Favors defense that made the biggest impact in the game.

The Clippers tried to attack the paint against the Jazz and Favors didn’t allow them to have any more success than they would have had Rudy Gobert been on the floor.

In addition to his double-double, Favors was frequently able to get his hands on loose balls and offensive rebounds.

Giving Favors the full Mid Level Exception was risky, especially considering the league’s move away from big rotations. But if Favors can continue to give the Jazz a similar level of play, he’ll be worth the money this season.

“I’m gonna play hard regardless,” Favors said. “I’m gonna attack the boards regardless on the defensive and then on the offensive [glass].”

Things That Don’t Fit The 2020 Theme

Yesterday the Jazz lost in unsurprising 2020 fashion. Just like the year itself, everything that could go wrong did and the Jazz lost 106-95. We made a list of moments within the Jazz loss that reflected 2020 itself.

Now entering 2021, all humankind can hope that the Jazz performance against the Clippers is an omen for how the next 364 days will go.

Bojan Bogdanovic made his first basket after finishing 0-5 against the Suns. He still finished just 3-12, but his aggressiveness to open the game helped the Jazz offense.

Donovan Mitchell also made his first three-point shot against the Clippers after four consecutive shooting outings. Mitchell finished with 15 points on 6-14 shooting.

Royce O’Neale ran the floor which set up a wide-open three off the baseball assist from Mitchell. The Jazz didn’t run the floor against Phoenix and it prevented them from getting easy looks from deep.

The Jazz hit 15 threes on 42 attempts.

Paul George shot just 6-22 from the floor. Five of his makes were from three, but despite 25 points, he was a -12 for the night.

Though they allowed an 18 point lead to dissolving to just one, they finished the half on an 8-0 run to lead by nine at the half. It was the first half time lead for the Jazz since opening night.

The Jazz had a 17-0 run.

Ingles and Conley had a good night together for what feels like may the first time since Conley joined the team.

Mitchell’s leaping ability appeared to be back as he threw down a big dunk after breaking the paint.

Though the Clippers erased two huge leads by the Jazz, they continued to compete throughout the game and never gave in to the momentum getting away from them.

The Jazz won their first home game of the season.

The team now embarks on a seven-game road trip with stops in San Antonio, Brooklyn, New York, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, and Washington.

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