Jazz run winning streak to 10 with 118-107 victory over Nets
NEW YORK (AP) — Rudy Gobert is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, as good a stopper as there is in the league.
Even he wouldn’t want to mess with the Utah Jazz right now.
“I wouldn’t like to guard ourselves,” he said.
The Brooklyn Nets didn’t enjoy it, either.
Joe Ingles matched his career high with 27 points, Gobert had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and the Jazz ran their winning streak to 10 games by beating the Nets 118-107 on Tuesday night.
Donovan Mitchell returned from a one-game absence with an illness to score 25 points — 14 in the fourth quarter — and Bojan Bogdanovic had 18 for the Jazz, who opened a 20-point lead and impressively turned back every attempt by the Nets to make it close.
“We’re in a groove,” Mitchell said.
Kyrie Irving had 32 points and a season-high 11 assists in his second game back from a shoulder injury, but it mostly seemed he was trying to shoot the Nets back into a game the Jazz weren’t going to let go of in what became their 15th win in 16 games.
“You look at them on film and watch a few of their games and there’s a reason why they’re 15-1 in their last 16,” Irving said.
The Nets were coming off their best defensive performance of the season, allowing season lows in points and field goal percentage (33%) in a 108-86 rout of Atlanta. But they could never get comfortable against a Jazz team that had Gobert rolling inside and plenty of good shooters on the outside. Ingles was 6 of 8 behind the arc and finished 10 of 14 overall, capitalizing on the space created by defenders worrying about Gobert near the rim or Mitchell attacking it.
“The bigs were so far back tonight it was kind of just like practice shots,” Ingles said. “Rudy was hitting great screens and we were able to kind of walk into it and shoot open 3s.”
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 17 points for the Nets, who had won two in a row.
Both teams started quickly, the Jazz opening 8 of 12 from the field and the Nets 7 of 10. But eventually Utah’s defense began to assert itself.
Dinwiddie was 0 for 4 from the free throw line in the first half, though the Nets scored on his first attempts when the Jazz accidentally batted the ball into the basket. Rodions Kurucs, as the closest Nets player, was given credit for the field goal.
Brooklyn could have tied it when Dinwiddie went to the line the second time. His two misses left Utah leading 45-43, and Ingles then hit three 3-pointers in a 14-2 burst to end the half and give the Jazz a 59-45 advantage.
The Jazz made four 3s in about four minutes to start the second half, with the last one by Ingles pushing the lead to 76-56. Brooklyn cut it to eight midway through the fourth after six straight points, but Gobert converted a three-point play and Mitchell nailed a 3 to extend it to 105-91.
Jazz: Utah has won the last four meetings. ... Jordan Clarkson scored 13 points off the bench.
Nets: The Nets played without reserves Garrett Temple (bruised right knee) and Wilson Chandler (left hamstring). ... Brooklyn began a difficult five-game stretch that continues with a game Wednesday in Philadelphia and includes matchups with Milwaukee, the 76ers again and the Los Angeles Lakers. Coach Kenny Atkinson had no special feelings about the rough road because he said all games are tough. “I’m focusing on the Nets and us improving. Can’t really control the schedule,” he said. “Just as nervous about this game as I was Atlanta (on Sunday). It doesn’t really matter. I don’t really look at the jersey. I just make sure we’re prepared to compete at a high level.”
Utah’s next game is Thursday at New Orleans, where the Pelicans are hoping No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson will be ready to make his NBA debut after a knee injury. He’s been practicing but hasn’t played in a game yet.
“Definitely fun to watch so for us it’s going to be the same,“ Gobert said. “Zion or no Zion, we’re going in there to try to get a win and hopefully that’s what we’re going to do.”
The game featured the top two current scoring leaders among second-round picks. Dinwiddie came in at 22.1 points per game and Bogdanovic, a former Net, was at 21.
Jazz: Visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
Nets: Visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.