Jazz Stick To Recent Script In Easy Win Over Clippers

Dec 15, 2021, 11:46 PM | Updated: 11:49 pm
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell drives against the Los Angeles Clippers (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Ge...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell drives against the Los Angeles Clippers (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers 124-103 thanks to an efficient 27 points from Donovan Mitchell and a 20 point, 17 rebound performance from Rudy Gobert.

The Clippers’ four-game win streak was snapped with the loss as the team was playing without Paul George and Nicolas Batum who were both listed as questionable early Wednesday morning.

The win extended their unbeaten streak to eight wins and allowed the Jazz to keep within 2.5 games of the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the West.

Mitchell’s Tremendous Second Half

Donovan Mitchell didn’t have a first half worth writing home about, scoring eight points on 3-8 shooting, including 0-5 from the three-point line.

During an interview with ESPN between the third and fourth quarters, Jazz coach Quin Snyder acknowledged that Mitchell had been tired entering the game which would likely explain his flat shooting to open the night.

However, the guard once again showed he has one of the quickest switches in the NBA, turning a mediocre night over the first 24 games into a superstar-level performance to close the game.

Mitchell scored 19 second half points on a perfect 7-7 shooting while handing out three assists with just one turnover.

Equally impressive was the guard’s +19 plus-minus in under 15 minutes as the team struggled to maintain their double-digit with the guard off the floor.

After building a lead to as large as 17 in the third quarter, the Clippers trimmed their deficit to just seven with Mitchell off the floor in the fourth quarter.

However, the guard returned to the floor with just over eight minutes remaining in the game and led the Jazz to a 24-10 close to earn their eighth straight win.

Jazz Following The Same Script

The last four games of the Jazz eight-game win streak have been eerily similar, but highlight just how dominant the team has been.

Over their last four outings, the Jazz have found themselves in close games at the half before building a double-digit lead after three quarters and winning by 20-plus.

Against the Washington Wizards on Saturday the Jazz trailed by one at halftime, led by 12 after three quarters, and won by 21.

Against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday the Jazz by seven at the half, built their lead to 12 going into the fourth quarter and won by 22.

Against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday the Jazz led by one at halftime, by 14 after three quarters, and won by 32.

Once again, the Jazz found themselves locked in a close game against the Clippers at halftime, leading by just six at the break. They then built their lead to 12 heading into the fourth quarter before ultimately winning by 21 points.

It should be no surprise then that the Jazz have been the second-best team in the second halves of games this season owning a net rating of +16, trailing only the league-best Warriors.

Over their last four games, however, their second half numbers have been absurd. The Jazz have a net rating of +41.7, 26.1 points better than the second-place Sacramento Kings, and 33.1 points better than Golden State.

It can be a dangerous game to wait to flip a switch in the second half of games, but over the last two weeks, it’s worked consistently well for the Jazz.

Jazz Have Favorable Upcoming Schedule

With a noticeable tailwind, the Jazz have a favorable schedule over the final two weeks of December

Here are the teams the Jazz have to face before beginning the New Year against the Warriors.

vs. San Antonio Spurs (10-17)

vs. Washington Wizards (15-14)

vs. Charlotte Hornets (16-14)

vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-15) 

vs. Dallas Mavericks (14-14)

@ San Antonio Spurs (10-17)

@ Portland Trail Blazers (11-18)

vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-15)

That’s a combined 102-124 total record, or a .451 win percentage, with six of their next eight games played in Salt Lake City.

None of the teams the Jazz will face before the end of the year are more than two games above .500, while five of their opponents are at least two games below .500 so far this season.

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