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Darren Abate, AP Photo

Brace for it: Jazz smash Spurs to start 7-game road trip

By Ryan Miller, KSL.com | Updated - Jan. 3, 2021 at 8:48 p.m. | Posted - Jan. 3, 2021 at 7:17 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — He may not like it, but Bojan Bogdanovic might just want to keep the wrist brace. In fact, after Sunday, his team might just make him.

Bogdanovic came into Sunday having shot 0-for-8 from 3-point range over his last two games — a slump that was rarely, if ever, seen in his first season in Utah. That led to a new accessory for Sunday's game: a brace on the wrist that he underwent surgery on last spring.

With that, suddenly he was back to his normal self.

Bogdanovic scored 28 points to lead Utah to a dominant 130-109 win over the Spurs in San Antonio to start the team's seven-game road trip.

"I mean it's helping me I really hate to play with anything on my body — any tape, any brace — but I really needed it because my wrist is kind of sore whenever I follow through when I'm shooting."

With the brace on, Bogdanovic broke out of his slump, going 10-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-7 from the 3-point line.

"It's something that I am wearing during the practices but I really hate to play with anything in the games but I mean it's kind of helping me so I tried today and I might start wearing it till my wrist is kind of better," he said.

Maybe it was the brace; maybe it was Bogdanovic finally finding some rhythm again (he said last week he didn't touch a basketball for seven or eight months). Or maybe the Jazz as a whole felt super comfortable in an empty AT&T Arena. Because everything seemed to go right on Sunday for Utah.

The Jazz were 21-of-41 from 3-point range and led by as many as 32 points. It was a dominant offensive display with the Jazz shooting 55% from the field and over 50% from the 3-point line.

"We played the way we want to play — driving and finding open guys," said Rudy Gobert, who finished with 16 rebounds on Sunday. "We've got a lot of guys who can knock down open shots."

And a lot of them did.

Donovan Mitchell had 22 points and nine assists, Jordan Clarkson had 18 points off the bench and Mike Conley finished with 15 points and four assists.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder let out a long list of things his team did well: spacing, not forcing things, good decisions in the pick-and-roll, precise passes. "When you do that, all of a sudden good things happen," he said.

It was a night where everything seemed to click — both offensively and defensively — for the visitors. Gobert finished with six blocks leading a defensive effort that limited the Spurs to 42% shooting. That number was especially low considering San Antonio only put up 19 threes in the game. They challenged Gobert; it didn't end well.

There's things to nitpick.

The Jazz had 19 turnovers in the game and a few lazy passes were the reason the Spurs went on a 13-0 run in the second quarter, giving them some life.

"That's what kept them in the game in the second quarter," Gobert said. "On a night when there is another team that is going to play better, we could give up a game and lose a game like that. So we gotta make sure that we stay locked in for 48 minutes."

Stay locked in — and make sure Bogdanovic has a brace.

Ryan Miller

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