The Utah Jazz has made a 16-point comeback to beat the New Orleans Pelicans and win the first NBA game since March.
The Jazzers were excellent in the last period, when they managed to press the Pelicans and to limit them to only 17 points, not allowing the young team from the Big Easy to close the match and improve their position in the playoff race.
With 6.9 seconds to go, Rudy Gobert sunk both of his free throws to set the final result of the game, 106-104, while on the other end, Brandon Ingram missed what was supposed to be a game-winning shot.
Gobert sinks the game-winning free throws in the first game of the restart.
Jazz W. pic.twitter.com/2801zREI0o
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 31, 2020
A very big deal for the Jazz was the fact that Donovan Mitchel found Gobert in that last attack before Derrick Favors fouled the French international. After all the talks about them two not being in good relationships since infecting with COVID-19, this is good news for the Jazzers’ fans.
“For Donovan to find Rudy at the end of the game, there is a heck of a play, and then Rudy goes and makes the two free throws,” Quin Snyder said. “Those guys have done that hundreds and hundreds of times.”
Utah opened the game well, building a 19-8 lead in the middle of the first period, but afterward slowed down. Pelicans were starting to hurt their rivals from all over the field, with Ingram, Redick, and Holiday leading the way.
With 1:46 before the end of the halftime, Alvin Gentry’s team reached a 60-44 lead, which was the highest during the entire game. They would go on to keep a double-digit difference in the third quarter, but ran out of gas when needed the most.
One of the reasons for that is the situation with Zion Williamson, who played just 15 minutes, and wasn’t in a position to help his teammates a lot. Zion scored 13 points and was 6-for-8 from the field, but according to the medical team, he wasn’t ready to play more. After leaving the bubble, the rookie missed almost two weeks of practice, which is very important at this point.
“Of course, we wish we could have played him down the stretch, but he’d used the minutes that was given to us, so that’s the way it is,” Alvin Gentry said. “We weren’t going to stick him back out there.”
Gentry was under heavy criticism of the fans because of not allowing Zion to spend more minutes on the court. Eventually, it seems that he had to obey the the medical staff’s recommendation.
Among his Pelicans, Ingram had a team-high with 23 points, 8 boards, and one block. JJ Redick scored 21 with 4 boards and three assists, hitting three downtown hits, while Jrue Holiday added 20 points with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. New Orleans had just 18 free throws in this one.
On the other side, it was Jordan Clarkson, who led the way with 23 points and five boards. The efficient guard made just one of his eight three-point attempts, but on the other hand, missed one two-pointer.
“When Jordan has space on the floor to work, he’s really difficult to guard,” Snyder said after the game. “That’s what you saw in the second half.”
Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley scored 20 points each, with the not that Mitchell had five boards and assists, and three steals, and that Conley added 4 dimes.
Coming up next, the Jazz are playing against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday afternoon, while on the other side, the Pelicans are meeting the Clippers.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.