GameStop shares seem to be rising at a rapid pace right now, and Utah Jazz seem to be improving at a rapid pace. They are already on the upward slope after winning their 10th game in a row after beating the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Despite the absence of All-Star goalie Donovan Mitchell due to a concussion, the Jazz dominated the Mavericks and built a 25-point lead in the third quarter.
Before Mitchell entered the concussion protocol, he was at the top of his game and playing like a true star, averaging 23.4 points (per game), 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists on 46.1% of 2-point shots and nearly 40% of 3-point shots.
While Donovan Mitchell has had a series of adventures before and after the old man’s criticism, a big reason for Utah’s success this season has been the removal of role players from the bench.
Basketball experts had criticized the Jazz last season for not having enough depth and leaning too heavily on Mitchell and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert in the big games and playoffs.
Jordan Clarkson (31 points against the Mavs) and Joe Ingles (21) joined Gobert (29) last night in scoring their best of the season. Young bench players George Niang, Mie Oni and Juwan Morgan played key roles in the victory.
The Utah Jazz’s bench, one of the best in basketball, is led by Clarkson, who rightfully claims the title of sixth man of the year after allowing the most points in his career (17.9 per game), rebounds (4.6), two-point penalty percentages (58.3 percent) and free throws (96.8 percent) in 18 games.
Not only can Clarkson contribute from the bench, but he gives the Jazz a reliable second or third option in times of crisis that forces opponents to respect him and create space for shooters like Ingles, Royce O’Neal and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Clarkson’s ability to push against the second units gives the Jazz another sharpshooter who can lead the offense when Mitchell and Mike Conley sit.
Clarkson and Mitchell’s points helped Jazz, but their cohesion on both ends was key.
As head coach Quin Snyder told Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz were running at full speed and continued to dominate, despite the departure of Mitchell and Derrick Favors last night.
In fact, they’re doing the same thing they’ve been doing all season – getting bigger because they’re more involved in the game, Snyder noted. Everybody plays with everybody else. It was those guys tonight, and it came out because Donovan and Fav weren’t there, but those guys have done the same thing in a lot of games lately. The balance we have is one of our team’s strengths. …nothing they don’t do on purpose. They’re just playing a game, playing together.
The Jazz have deservedly taken first place in the Western Conference standings, and if they keep winning at this rate, the NBA could shoot Robin and make it much harder for the little guys in Utah to succeed.
But, all kidding aside, the Jazz made it clear that the Western Conference is not just a two-horse race between the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
gamestop’s, gamestop locations