Hot Shooting Jazz Cruise Past Kings

Nov 21, 2021, 12:04 AM | Updated: 12:10 am
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defended by Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (Photo by Lachlan C...
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defended by Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz hot shooting continued as they blew past the Sacramento Kings 123-105 for their third straight victory.

The Jazz knocked down 17-39 threes, marking their third straight game shooting at least 40 percent from the three-point line, and their fourth consecutive game with 16 or more made threes.

Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points while Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Jazz moved to 11-5 on the season.

Jazz Shooting Woes Have Ended

It’s safe to say the Jazz shooting woes have ended after their recent streak of scorching the nets.

During the team’s three-game win streak, the Jazz are shooting 42 percent from the three-point line on 41 attempts while knocking down a league-best 17.3 threes per game.

It’s a significant leap from the first 13 games of the year when the team was knocking down an average of just 13.3 threes per game while shooting 32 percent.

While it should be noted that the Jazz had the league’s top offense to open the season despite shooting so poorly (largely due to offensive rebounding) it’s not hard to see how much easier games are for the roster when they are connecting on the deep ball.

The Jazz had lost four of their five previous games heading into the three-game win streak and were shooting just 30 percent from downtown during the stretch.

Though the Jazz didn’t get blown out of each of those losses, they needed big comebacks in both Miami Heat losses to make the games respectable, while they blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to the lowly Orlando Magic.

Without the three-point shooting that carried them throughout most of last season, the Jazz were having to out-defend, outrebound, and outhustle their opponents just to stay competitive.

That’s particularly difficult to rely on against teams like Miami who are equally talented to the Jazz, or against the Magic who had the rest advantage and were playing at home.

But over the last three games, the Jazz’s three-point shooting has returned, and it’s led to quick offensive explosions, forcing their opponents to have to continuously fight just to stay competitive in the games.

Sacramento deserves credit for repeatedly trimming double-digit Jazz leads to just a handful of points throughout the game, but playing on the second night of a back-to-back, every Jazz three seemed like a backbreaker for the tired Kings roster.

The Toronto Raptors experienced the same onslaught against the Jazz on Thursday, as did the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

Those momentum threes continue to give the Jazz breathing room and seem to breed confidence into how the team executes on both ends of the floor.

After a tough losing stretch, the Jazz schedule will lighten up significantly over the next few weeks, and if they continue to shoot the way they have over the last three games, they’ll rack up a ton of wins.

Gobert Vs. Holmes Is A Fun Rivalry

Early in Rudy Gobert’s career, it was clear he knew who the most talented centers in the NBA were, and he would try to go out and have his best games against the best big men the league had to offer.

Now, with Gobert firmly ingrained as an All-Star and All-NBA center, it’s enjoyable to watch the role flipped as other players around the league look to play their best against the Jazz big man.

Perhaps no player has been more guilty of that over the last two years than Kings center Richaun Holmes, and it was apparent once again in Sacramento.

Holmes is one of the league’s most underrated players and was terrific against the Jazz tonight scoring a team-high 22 points on 9-10 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds.

That performance followed up two of his worst games of the season against the Jazz where he averaged just 10 points and eight rebounds on 53 percent shooting while fouling out of the first meeting.

It should be no surprise that Gobert showed up ready for the challenge of facing Holmes in the teams’ first two meetings after how the Kings center played against the Jazz last season.

Holmes faced Gobert only twice last season but averaged 21.5 points including a season-high 25 point outing in March.

As is the case with most head-to-head matchups, Gobert has gotten the better of his competition, as you can see in the table below.

The Jazz star has won 11 of his 13 matchups with Holmes and averages more points, rebounds, and blocks. But the two play hard against one another each time they step on the floor, even if the competition between their teams isn’t particularly close.

On Monday, the Jazz return to Salt Lake City to face the Memphis Grizzlies before heading back on the road to play the Oklahoma City Thunder before the Thanksgiving holiday.

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