‘It feels different’: The Jazz’s evolution continues with win over league-leading Suns

Estimated learn time: 3-4 minutes

PHOENIX — Donovan Mitchell stated it felt completely different.

He stated it the tunnels after the sport; he stated it in his postgame press convention; and he stored repeating the road.

“I actually haven’t got a phrase for it, however I feel there’s only a completely different — completely different effort,” Mitchell stated. “I feel that is the largest factor.”

After Sunday’s 118-114 win over the Phoenix Suns, the Jazz have strung collectively two straight high-quality wins to start post-All-Star break play. And, yeah, it feels completely different.

The Jazz workforce that has struggled within the clutch this season instantly gained two shut video games towards superstars of the NBA.

The Jazz workforce that had been trying to find signature wins is instantly choosing them up at a frequent tempo.

What concerning the Jazz workforce that was trying to find an identification? Perhaps — simply possibly — they’ve discovered one.

“It is taken us some time to evolve, form of sculpt a distinct identification with completely different gamers and so to have video games like this — robust video games, shut video games, towards groups which are actually, actually good, actually disciplined, play protection, is one thing that may assist us,” coach Quin Snyder stated.

Mitchell drove to his proper and stepped again earlier than placing up one thing that seemed like a desperation try. The shot clock was working dry and Mitchell was caught deep within the nook. He needed to put up one thing.

A number of moments later, he was skipping down the court docket after his 3-pointer had inexplicably banked in.

Mitchell’s shot with 1:51 to go put the Jazz up 10 and helped Utah safe the victory — a pair minutes later, it proved to be the sport winner. An 8-1 Phoenix run made it a one-possession recreation and the Jazz solely may breathe simply after former Jazzman Jae Crowder threw the ball out of bounds within the closing seconds.

“I did not plan on utilizing the glass however the angle, I form of bought farther than I needed to,” Mitchell stated of his late 3-pointer. “My solely possibility was to make use of the backboard.”

That play encapsulated Utah’s current stretch the place the Jazz rolled off eight wins in 9 video games. Issues have not gone to script this season — a majority of the workforce coming again hasn’t equaled the identical common season success — however over the previous couple of weeks the Jazz have made it work.

Sunday was the newest instance.

Utah bought a customary huge efficiency from Mitchell — 26 factors and 5 assists – nevertheless it was another performances that basically pushed the Jazz excessive towards Phoenix.

After a little bit of an unfocused first half, Jordan Clarkson was a revelation after halftime. He scored 16 of his 22 factors after the break, nevertheless it was extra than simply good taking pictures. With 4:37 left within the recreation, Clarkson drove to the rim. After all, he was trying to rating — it is uncommon the reigning Sixth Man of the Yr is not. However his shot wasn’t there and the Suns had collapsed from the nook leaving Danuel Home Jr. vast open.

Clarkson kicked it out to Home, who buried the 3-pointer — one in all two late 3s from Home that helped Utah maintain off the Suns.

Clarkson admitted he might not have made that play, or others prefer it, earlier within the season. However, just like the workforce, he is advanced.

“These performs, I gotta preserve persevering with to make,” Clarkson stated. “… (It is) simply progress, research, time we’re placing in, the teaching workers bringing it to my consideration.”

As for Home, he might have been the story of the sport. Home did so properly navigating screens and staying in entrance of Devin Booker that Snyder completed the sport with him as an alternative of Royce O’Neale. That was completely different.

It was the bench unit that led Utah to victory on Sunday with the Jazz reserves outscoring the Suns’ bench 43-11.

“I feel these two wins are simply form of setting the tone for us and the second half of the season,” Clarkson stated.

A second half that instantly feels prefer it’ll be completely different.

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