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SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes all you need to do to know how good a move was is take a look at the reactions on the bench.
Turns out, Donovan Mitchell’s behind-the-back, between-the-legs dribble to blow by Rodions Kurucs for a scoop layup on Saturday was pretty dang good.
It left Jae Crowder motionless, slowly sinking into his chair in stunned silence as if just seeing the act had taken his life. And Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang were quickly up on their feet in pure excitement, frantically mimicking the dribble with imaginary basketballs.
“He does some pretty raw and intelligent stuff and some god-gifted ability that he has,” Crowder said. “That was a hell of a play from him just to have those instincts and wrap it behind and between his legs for the layup. Just having fun on the bench.”
The Jazz had plenty of fun on the court, too. Utah rolled to its third straight win with a convincing 114-98 win over Brooklyn Saturday at Vivint Arena.
And the Jazz were simply spectacular for eight minutes in the first half.
Kurucs’ layup with 9:28 left in the second quarter was meaningful for one reason: It served as the only Brooklyn points in a span of 8:02.
The amount of the times the Jazz scored? Prepare yourself for a long list.
Mitchell hit a 3-pointer, Crowder threw down a dunk, Rudy Gobert finished off an alley-oop with a dunk, Kyle Korver nailed a 3, Gobert got inside for a layup, Korver hit another 3 … and, well, you get the point.
By the time it was all over, the Jazz had gone on a 27-2 run, had taken a double-digit lead and Gobert seemed to have zapped any hope the Nets — which came into the game having put up 2nd-worst offensive rating in the league since the All-Star Game — may have had of scoring at the rim.
“First half, second quarter, third quarter, I think they dominated us in every sense,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
That about sums it up. And that domination started in the paint where Gobert and Favors had their way with the Nets.
“We locked down the paint,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “They did a heck of a job. There was clarity when guys drove where our bigs weren’t caught in between, not necessarily to play two guys. They were able to have clarity and contest shots.”
Gobert finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots on the night. During Utah’s game-turning (if not game-ending) 27-2 run, he was the best player on the floor. He dominated defensively and he was unstoppable in transition, finishing play after play near the hoop.
And he did it all while being sick.
After the game, Gobert sat in front of his locker and vomited into a wastebasket. He had been feeling ill all day and once he sat on his chair it overcame him.
“Just try to give everything I had,” Gobert said. “I haven't missed a game, so I didn’t want to.”
Brooklyn probably wouldn’t have been too upset if he chose to sit this one out.
Mitchell had 24 points, six rebounds and four assists and Derrick Favors added 13 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
Utah improved to 40-29 on the season.