Ricky Rubio, Jazz surge in win

Micahel Tipton

Jazz posted another sub-100 defensive rating outing.

He controlled the game with metronomic passing and elegant decision making. It’s the season of giving, and Ricky Rubio dealt 6 assists and poured 14 points in the Utah Jazz’s 117-96 win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Playing the Trail Blazers last Friday certainly helped, and much like the first encounter, Rubio controlled the play from the jump. He deceived Jusuf Nurkic on a pump-pass in the lane; “Nashed” with precision; spotted Rudy Gobert behind the Portland defense.

He may not be the club’s most talented player, but Rubio serves as a barometer for Utah’s success. The Spaniard’s play fluctuated with the Jazz’s uneven start to the season. Heading into Christmas, the point guard posted 14.1 points (44%) and 6.5 assists over the last 10.

Even when Rubio turned the ball over late as Portland tried to close the lead, he delivered a lob to Gobert.

Now it’s gotten more consistent, and Utah is readying for a run. With Rubio working offensively, the defense continued to carry the club when the shots weren’t falling. The Jazz notched six of seven contests with a sub-100 defensive rating. The reigning DPOY ruled the interior with seven blocks.

While it took eight misses from three before Utah ripped the nets on a triple, the Jazz finished 13-29 from deep.

So long as the defense continues and Rubio operates consistently, Quin Snyder will give Jazz fans reasons for cheer.

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