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

Estimated learn time: 3-4 minutes

PHOENIX — Donovan Mitchell mentioned it felt totally different.

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

“I actually do not have a phrase for it, however I feel there’s only a totally different — totally different effort,” Mitchell mentioned. “I feel that is the most important 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 totally different.

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

The Jazz workforce that had been looking for signature wins is immediately choosing them up at a frequent tempo.

What in regards to the Jazz workforce that was looking for an identification? Possibly — simply perhaps — they’ve discovered one.

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

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 courtroom 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 sport 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 sort of received farther than I needed to,” Mitchell mentioned of his late 3-pointer. “My solely choice 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 received a customary large efficiency from Mitchell — 26 factors and 5 assists – but it surely 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, but it surely was extra than simply good capturing. With 4:37 left within the sport, Clarkson drove to the rim. In fact, 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 every of two late 3s from Home that helped Utah maintain off the Suns.

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

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

As for Home, he could 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 a substitute of Royce O’Neale. That was totally 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 sort of setting the tone for us and the second half of the season,” Clarkson mentioned.

A second half that immediately feels prefer it’ll be totally different.

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