When Rudy Gobert went down with a bone bruise just under four weeks ago, the Jazz looked dead in the water. Utah was 5-7 when Gobert went down, and expected to miss him 4-6 weeks. The schedule looked unforgiving, and the Utah offense had been a huge disaster with a full deck of healthy players.
Gobert came back a little early. In his absence, Utah had gone 7-4 and sat a game above .500 at 12-11, in good position in the Western playoff race. And in Gobert's grand return, the Jazz beat the Wizards in Salt Lake City by 47 points.
The Jazz needed a miracle to survive Gobert's absence. They got two of them: Donovan Mitchell and Alec Burks.
Mitchell, a rookie out of Louisville, averaged 20 points per game and shot 41 percent from three in the 11 games Gobert missed. In an absolute gem of a season for rookies, Mitchell finds himself in the top three performers with Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum. That's incredible for a No. 13 pick in such a star-studded draft with a top holdover in Simmons.
Burks, meanwhile, has come on more recently. He's dropped at least 24 points in each of the past three games. He hadn't broke 20 in any game prior this season, and he only broke 20 once last season. If Burks is really going to be the threat that they have long prayed he will be, it's a different story in SLC.
Those two along with great play from Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles, and Ekpe Udoh Book Club founder Ekpe Udoh have kept Utah alive. Now that Gobert is back and the offense apparently works, the Jazz are no longer in trouble. Now they are the trouble.
Scores Galore ...
ORL 94, CHA 104
NYK 97, IND 115
PHX 115, PHI 101
BKN 110, ATL 90
MIL 100, BOS 111
CLE 113, CHI 91
MIN 92, MEM 95
GSW 125, NOP 115
DEN 105, DAL 122
DET 93, SAS 96
WAS 69, UTA 116
... And So Much More
The Grizzlies won a game! Congratulations!
Stephen Curry injured his ankle on Monday. It looked bad. X-rays were negative, but an MRI has been scheduled.
Who wants MORE EJECTIONS? Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins got themselves booted in the waning moments of a Warriors win for screaming at each other. Good job, guys.
Devin Booker started the game 2-11 ... and ended up scoring 46 points to beat the Sixers. There's a real benefit to having a complete green light.
In an effort to put his current season in context, I ranked each of LeBron James’ 15 regular seasons. His worst seasons would legitimately fit in at best seasons for some Hall of Fame players. Dude is unreal.
LiAngelo Ball, who has been suspended indefinitely on account of that whole shoplifting in China ordeal, is leaving UCLA, according to his dad. Shams Charania reports the two younger Ball brothers — LiAngelo, who purportedly isn't an NBA-level prospect, and LaMelo, who might be — are exploring opportunities in Europe. LaMelo was on track for UCLA in a couple of years, but has eligibility concerns due to the family sneaker business. Tim Cato argues LiAngelo should consider the G-League. Mike Rutherford argues that, even if another Ball boy never steps foot in Westwood, UCLA got what they wanted out of the family.
The Nerlens Noel Hot Dog Crisis explainer you didn't know you needed.
Alex Wong on the nuts and bolts and insanity of in-arena proposals.
The Supreme Court might rule to allow legal sports betting nationwide. The NBA is ready to cash in, if so.
The Seattle city council approved an expensive plan to renovate KeyArena by 2020. An NHL team seems to be in the works. There continue to be rumblings that the NBA will look to expand to Seattle in the not-too-distant future.
Here's a new one: not only did Shaun Livingston get suspended a game for making contact with an official over the weekend, but the ref — Courtney Kirkland — got sat down for a week due to his actions in the confrontation. On review, it looked like the two went forehead to forehead with both acting aggressively. Can't do that.
All the panic about the Lakers' so-called LaVar Ball Rule limiting access to players' families during games seems like a whole lotta nothing. The team doesn't want in-game media scrums in which a very outspoken dad can rip the franchise. Seems reasonable. Reporters still have ways to reach families that want to be reached.
Three games on the docket for Tuesday. NBA TV's doubleheader is Suns-Raptors at 7:30 p.m. ET followed by Wizards-Blazers at 10. League Pass has the [eyeballs emoji] game of the night, though: Jazz-Thunder at 8.
Be excellent to each other.