SALT LAKE CITY — It was a good vibes only kind of night. For Jordan Clarkson, it usually is. Scratch that, it always is.
Clarkson's life mantra — he's the leader of the Utah Jazz's Good Vibe Tribe, after all — has won him fans everywhere, and it's created a style of play that has some laughing, some shaking their heads, and some smiling. It can be creative, entertaining, and ridiculous all at the same time. Love it or hate it, that's Clarkson.
On Wednesday morning, Clarkson was asked if he had thought about changing anything about his play with his efficiency continuing to drop. In the seven games leading into Wednesday, he had only shot 33% from the field.
"I don't really look at numbers and stuff like that. I just try to impact the game anyway I can, just go out there and hoop," Clarkson said. "I ain't changing no game, (I'm) shooting the same shots that I want to shoot, anything the defense gives me. If it goes in, it goes in."
That's how he answered the question, but his true response came hours later when he checked in to Utah's 126-94 win over San Antonio.
Clarkson scored 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting to lead the Jazz to the win. He hit pull up 3s and layups in traffic; he banked in scooped underhand shots and running floaters — pretty much anything he put up went in.
It was just one of those nights.
"Sometimes there's nights like that with Bojan (Bogdanovic) and Jordan, just shooting the lights out," coach Quin Snyder said.
Clarkson made his first four shots and was 5-of-6 by the end of the first quarter. He never cooled off. In the third quarter alone, Clarkson went 5-for-5 and had 12 points. Good vibes, indeed.
"When you see the ball go through the net early in the game and there's good flow to the game, definitely is a good feeling about it," Clarkson said. "You want to keep making plays and then keep it rolling. Definitely was feeling good for the shots to go in."
When it comes to Clarkson, though, the type of nights have become fewer and fewer. His inconsistencies or his slump, whatever you want to call it, really go back all the way to February.
"Slumps are part of what happens throughout a long season," Clarkson said.
What was different on Wednesday? His shot chart changed a bit. He attacked the paint more with the Spurs bigs dropping back deep, giving him floaters anytime he wanted — and he hit most. That meant he wasn't hunting any type of 3 as much (he only attempted four), but he also wasn't necessarily shy about shooting those either — shown by his step-back 3 in the third quarter that generated "oohs" from the crowd. But Clarkson probably wasn't thinking too hard about any of that anyway. He was, to use his word, "hoopin'."
That's just what Snyder wants, too.
Even through Clarkson's run of off nights, Snyder hasn't wanted him to change his shot chart, his number attempts, or anything else about his game. There's full confidence in him and what he can bring to the team. When Clarkson plays like he did on Wednesday, it raises the Jazz ceiling.
"I feel like a lot of these games that I've been in a slump or whatever, a lot of them just rolling out and missing. They're right on point. That's why I said I'm just gonna keep taking them and keep playing. Coach wants us to play this style. Keep doing what we're doing so that's all I could do," Clarkson said.
That's what he did against the Spurs.
"I keep my head down, keep grinding, keep taking the shots that are there, keep trying to make the plays," Clarkson said. "When they fall, it feels good, but I'm always confident. I'm always gonna take those shots and keep it rolling."
No matter what, it's good vibes only.