The Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 127-96, in a preseason game at Vivint Arena on Monday night.
- For the first time this preseason the Jazz had their full starting rotation available to play and it looked like any cobwebs that might have been leftover from the offseason had been shaken off during practice. The Jazz’s core rotational players looked sharp and ready for the regular season, which is just around the corner.
- We all know what to expect from Donovan Mitchell on the offensive side of the ball, but on Monday night he looked pretty exceptional on the defensive end. He’s continued to say that he needs to improve on that end and if he wants to enter the superstar tier of the league, upping his defensive game would take him there. I know it’s just a preseason game, but I have to think that if he’s giving that kind of effort in a game that doesn’t matter, he’ll probably be even better when it counts.
- The Jazz players gave Bojan Bogdanovic a lot of grief for not dunking a wide open break away basket and Hassan Whiteside was seen laughing and giving Bogdanovic a thumbs down. I’m very pro this kind of behavior in the preseason.
- If Bogdanovic was dealing with a sore shoulder the last few weeks, it doesn’t seem to have impacted his shooting at all. Still very good.
- Speaking of the Croatian sharpshooter, there was some interesting pick-and-roll stuff between Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert that looked really nice.
- BTW, Gobert is still great at his job.
- Some more small-ball with Eric Paschall and some time with Paschall and Gobert and all of those minutes had their bright spots, but you can also tell that they’ll need to be refined. It will be very interesting to see how that all plays out once Rudy Gay is back.
- Things still look pretty clunky for Whiteside. Watched him working with Mitchell after practice on Sunday and he said that he was trying to get a feel for the pick-and-roll with Mitchell versus what it looks like from Mike Conley and Joe Ingles, which is a really fair point because all of those guys play the PNR differently. But it looks like it will probably take a little more time for Whiteside to get the feel of things.
- All that being said, nothing Whiteside did was as bad as some of the out-of-position stuff from Udoka Azubuike.
- Early on in the night Trent Forrest slipped when going up to contest a shot and when he fell he hit his head really hard. After a few minutes on the court he was helped up and left the court looking very woozy and shaken. He didn’t return due to concussion-like symptoms.
- Josh Hart got two technical fouls and was ejected from the game very early for what I suppose was excessively jawing with the officials or a player. It’s preseason. It’s not that serious. Let’s all take a deep breath.
- Jared Butler was a late scratch from the game due to a non-COVID illness. The fans didn’t get to see him at home, but he’s likely to play on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks in the preseason finale.
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