After falling in two of their first three games after the All-Star break, the Jazz picked up two impressive wins over the weekend, one at home on Friday against Minnesota, and then on Saturday in Sacramento.
Now that Utah has dusted themselves off, Monday’s home matchup against the lowly Magic seems a little like a trap game, but don’t tell coach Quin Snyder that.
“I think we’re beyond the concept of a trap game now,” Snyder said at Monday’s shootaround. “It’s up to our players to see beyond that.”
Snyder caught up with the media at shootaround:
Monday will be Utah’s final home before the Jazz hit the road for three games away from Salt Lake City, before returning back to Vivint Smart Home Arena next Tuesday. Currently, with 19 games remaining, Utah still sits two games behind the 8th spot for the playoffs.
To return back to the playoffs, Utah will need to avoid looking at teams like Orlando as “trap games.” The Magic, though riding a two game winning streak, have no chance at making a playoff run, and currently sit at 13th in the Eastern Conference.
This will be the second time this season that these two teams have met, with the Jazz annihilating Orlando 125-85 down in Florida back in November.
Something that was spoken about frequently during shoot-around on Monday, was the Jazz defense. Utah has given up fewer than 100 points in 3 of their last 4 games, however Orlando could be different, as the Magic are averaging 105.8 ppg. During their two game win-streak, Orlando is averaging 111.0 ppg.
“We still have some room to get better,” said Rudy Gobert concerning the Jazz defense. “There’s so much room to grow and get better, just got to keep working and getting better.”
Gobert comes into the game, being quite possibly the most important player for Utah. Though, Donovan Mitchell has taken the league by storm, its also Gobert who has elevated his game.
Throughout the course that the Jazz are on, winning 15 of 19 games, Rudy has 11 double-doubles. Friday night against Minnesota, Gobert put on a show, scoring 26 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and collecting 4 blocks. Satuday in Sacramento, Rudy piled up yet another double-double, with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Gobert caught up with the media at shootaround:
Another source of successful play has been that of point guard Ricky Rubio, who is starting look more and more comfortable as each game goes on, and will play a massive role in Utah’s playoff push. To elaborate even more, Rubio is shooting 44 percent from the field when the Jazz win, and only 34 percent when Utah loses.
“When he shoots good shots, he usually shoots good percentage,” Snyder said. “He’s seeing the game more completely with his teammates. We want him to be aggressive, and if that means ending with a shot, then great.”
After tonight’s game at home, the Jazz then fly to Indianapolis to take on the Pacers, then two more road games in Memphis for Friday night, then a Sunday afternoon match-up with the Pelicans in New Orleans.
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