Nov 30, 2021
In the NBA, there’s a fine line between being good and being great. Good teams in the NBA find themselves in close games and sometimes pull out the victory. Great teams find ways to win.
Good teams sometimes respond to adversity. Great teams do respond with big-time plays. On Monday night against Portland, Utah proved that they are indeed a great team in the NBA. After having their 22-point lead evaporate to single digits early in the fourth quarter, the Jazz responded in a big way to pull out the 129-107 victory over the Trailblazers. “As you spread out and make some shots, all of a sudden lanes to the basket open up,” head coach Quin Snyder said postgame. “In those situations, the ball doesn’t have to move, it just has to get laid in. … So I’m good with that too.” In what was perceived to be a battle between two of the top backcourts in the NBA, a 7-footer from France stole the show. Rudy Gobert, an all-star and reigning defensive player of the year, was sensational on both ends of the court. Defensively, the big man did a great job of defending both players in the pick-and-roll, not allowing Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to attack downhill. He also protected the rim as needed and had multiple deflections. Altogether, Gobert finished with his 16th double-double when he posted 21 points and 16 rebounds. He added one steal, one block and finished with a game-high +29 rating in 32 minutes. “As long as we play the right way, I don’t care how many shots I get,” said Gobert, who finished 9-of-11 from the floor.