Winner of a Dallas amputee by Luka Doncic in Game 1 (99-93), the Jazz have already regained home-court advantage in their series against the Mavs. A meeting marked, again, by doubts about the offensive use of Rudy Gobert. But Donovan Mitchell seems to see things a little differently…
It was the first game of these 2022 playoffs, and it did not disappoint. Atypical, defensive and under tension, the meeting between the Mavericks and the Jazz in Dallas fulfilled all its promises and perfectly opened the spring festivities. If Bojan Bogdanovic shone on the Utah side, as did Donovan Mitchell in the second half, the best player in the game is called by many Rudy Gobert. And yet…
Far from his usual standards in attack due to lack of the ball, the Frenchman was once again widely ignored by his teammates, to the point of hardly ever seen sign all time ! In more than 35 minutes on the court, the French made only one shot, for a stat line of 5 points (all on free throws), 17 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Donovan Mitchell saw good use of Rudy Gobert
If the Saint-Quentin native’s defensive performance got everyone to agree, to the point of earning him some very strong words, seeing it limited to a single shot seems like an aberration. Many fans, observers and commentators were touched by that … but not Mitchell. Present before the press after the match, Spida, who took 29 shots, seemed to have seen things from another angle:
Reporter: “What did you think of the team’s performance when Dallas chose to play small-ball? »
Mitchell: “Well, I think we did a good job. Whether it’s finding Rudy on rolls, getting Rudy rolling and letting us get into the key, finding open 3-pointers and attacking in different ways, we’ve done a great job.”
For Mitchell, who kept consulting the stat sheet several times during his news conference and citing various numbers, Gobert found himself sufficiently in the pick-and-roll, and was generally used optimally offensively.
A somewhat surprising take on things from the man who took 29 times as many shots as his pivotal colleague in this Game 1, because an old saying has long been law in the basketball world: “keep the big man happy,” giving he enough shots and scoring opportunities here and there. In this case, the Jazz have completely freed themselves from this rule and it will be interesting to see if the trend rebalances during Game 2.
Shooting just once, Rudy Gobert had decisive control of the game, as did Donovan Mitchell in an ultra-different record (32 points on 29 shots). Spida was grateful for how things went, but he is not sure if it was the same for the Frenchman, too often injured by his own teammates in attack. Business to follow…