Rudy Gobert knew the question was coming.
After hearing what Minnesota's Pat Beverley and Anthony Edwards said on Wednesday night, everyone was waiting for Gobert's retort.
Rather than being snarky, Gobert took the high road as he's been known to do — and for a good reason. Why speak words when your actions are louder?
Utah earned its sixth consecutive win by taking down Philadelphia 118-96 on Thursday night, thanks to a monster double-double from Gobert.
"I wouldn't say it impacted me," Gobert said when asked about the Minnesota comments. "It's not the first time. People take shots at me for no reason. I come here every single night to help my team win and be the best Rudy I can be."
Here are five things you need to know following the win:
1.) Actions Speak Louder Than WordsIt makes no sense why players in the league are still questioning Gobert, a three-time defensive player of the year and one of the best defensive players of all time.
"If I'm defensive player of the year, I'm always guarding the best player no matter what, I'm not roaming," Beverley said. "It's no discredit to Royce O'Neale or any of the others on their team, but if I'm defensive player of the year, I'm not guarding Royce O'Neale. I'm guarding Mike Conley, I'm guarding Donovan Mitchell, I'm guarding (Bojan) Bogdanovic. You got Rudy Gobert out there guarding (Jarred) Vanderbilt. And every time I hear he's defensive player of the year. So, uh, whatever."
Head coach Quin Snyder could only smile and laugh when asked about those comments — not everyone understands Utah's elite defensive scheme.
"Ironically, I think he leads the league in contested shots," Snyder said. "He's our best isolation defender, he is the best rim protector in the league. So a lot of times, he doesn't get to decide who he guards. He's part of the larger scheme. ... So if he's not guarding somebody, that's on me."
Joe Ingles said Edwards' comments made zero sense.
"I don't understand," Ingles said with a sarcastic life. "For Edwards to say that (Kristaps) Porzingis is more intimidating is hilarious. He obviously doesn't watch enough basketball. Maybe Porzingis blocked him once or something. … I don't know."
In the end, and regardless of what anyone says, Gobert let his actions speak louder than any words could.
He finished with his 19th double-double of the season in a sensational effort on both ends of the court, totaling 17 points, 21 rebounds, two blocks, and a game-high +17 rating on the night.
2.) Hassan Whiteside Triumphant In ReturnThis was Whiteside's first action on the four-game road trip, missing the first two games with a left glute contusion. After shaking off a bit of rust in the opening half, he delivered in the final 24 minutes of action.
Whiteside finished with his second double-double of the season, dropping 14 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks in just 15 minutes on the court. He was particularly dominant in the third quarter, scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds.
"The shots I was missing early on, they started to go in a little more," he said. "Once I got more used to the game speed, I was able to get a couple of offensive rebounds and get a couple of extra possessions for us."
It's was a welcome sight for a Jazz team that desperately missed the size, physicality, and skillset he possesses every game. It also allowed Gobert some much-needed rest after he banged around with Cleveland's trio of 7-footers and Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns the last two games.
3.) Are The Jazz The Deepest Team In The League?While it may be hard to determine which team is the deepest in the league, there's one team that deserves to be in the discussion.
With the top-two finishers from the Sixth Man of the Year award in Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles, the Jazz added prized free agents Whiteside and Rudy Gay to bolster its second unit further.
Those four are one of the main reasons the Jazz are widely considered one of the deepest teams in the league — and now one of the most versatile.
When in need of an offensive punch, Whiteside can slide in down low. When another playmaker is needed, Ingles is available. Clarkson is lightning in a bottle, while Gay is the league's perfect small-ball center when the Jazz elect to go small.
Together, the four of them scored 46 off the bench, outscoring the 76ers bench by 15 points. They're combining to average 40 points and 17.7 rebounds per game on the season.
But what makes this unit truly special is the way they've all adapted to playing with one another. There is no ego as to who gets the most shots or puts up the most points. They don't care who's getting the credit for the wins. This group understands their individual and collective roles every time they check into the game, and it's paying massive dividends early in the season.
4.) Defense Proves To Be Calling CardThere's a reason that Snyder was preaching team defense earlier in the season despite media often asking him about the offense.
As Utah's offense got off to a slow start, Snyder believed that at some point the open shots the Jazz were missing would start to fall. There was nothing more they could've done to make those shots go in the hoop, so it wasn't worth stressing over.
But the one thing the team could control was its defensive execution and effort on that end of the court — and that's why Snyder was adamant speaking about it over and over again.
It's safe to say the Jazz have received the message.
Going up against Philadelphia and the No. 5 offense in the league, Utah had no problem in sending a message that they're as talented defensively as they are offensively. The Jazz held the 76ers to 43.2% (38-for-88) shooting from the floor and 18.2% (6-for-33) from three-point territory.
It was the sort of performance that validates Utah as a true championship contender because while offenses may not always travel on the road, defenses definitely can — and that's precisely what took place Thursday night.
5.) One More To Go On Four-Game Road TripWhen Utah started its four-game road trip at Cleveland on Sunday, going 4-0 seemed like a difficult task.
After all, the Jazz would've had to take down the biggest team in the league with Whiteside sidelined against Cleveland. They would then face a Minnesota squad — again sans Whiteside —that swept the Jazz last season. Next came a brutal back-to-back against a 76ers team finding its rhythm. And finally, the road trip would end two days later against the resurgent Wizards, one of the best storylines of the season.
A very daunting road.
Now three-quarters of the way done, and the Jazz are sitting at a perfect 3-0. A clutch stop against the Cavaliers and two huge second-half runs against Minnesota and Philadelphia has Utah one win away from an ideal road trip and a seven-game winning streak.
Ending this trip undefeated would be a massive confidence boost for the Jazz, knowing they return home for the next two weeks with six games coming up in the comfortable confines of Vivint Arena.