Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Held accountable for missteps in L.A., Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell respond with a big win over Denver

by Aaron Falk

Victory started in the film room.

Before Donovan Mitchell tied a career-high with 46 points on Tuesday night, before Rudy Gobert put together another double-double, and before the Utah Jazz took down the Denver Nuggets, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder called his two star players out in front of their teammates.

The Jazz were coming off a disappointing loss to a shorthanded Lakers team, and Gobert and Mitchell needed to hear about it.

“It’s good to be held accountable,” Gobert said. “He did hold us accountable in the video session. I think it was good to show the team that if us two aren’t doing what we’re supposed to be doing, it will be hard for us to win. We didn’t take it personal at all.”

“We didn’t show up in L.A.,” Mitchell acknowledged. “We needed that. We both respond when he gets after us.”

They certainly did on Tuesday night.

With the Jazz jockeying for playoff positioning in the West, Mitchell and Gobert led the way in a 118-108 win over the Nuggets at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Mitchell came out hot, scoring 27 points in the first half. He credited Snyder’s message on Monday for pushing him to get off to a fast start.

“I kind of like that, to be honest,” Mitchell said. “It’s been like that my whole life. AAU to high school to college, I’ve always responded when people get on me.”

Gobert helped secure the Jazz’s 50th win of the season by locking down the Nuggets in crunch time and scoring nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.

“For a coach and a coaching staff, when you have two players like Donovan and Rudy that allow themselves to be coached, you can sometimes say things that are uncomfortable and you can say them in front of the team,” Snyder said. “Those guys responded tonight.”
Gobert’s final line included 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Mitchell finished the night with 46 points on 14-of-26 shooting. Afterward, he said he would prefer to focus on his missteps in the Jazz’s 50th win of the season.

“I don’t like being told what you’re good at,” he said. “I’d rather hear what I didn’t do. Even a game like tonight. I forced a few shots. Monte Morris had an open 3 in the corner. I could tell you several things I didn’t do. I prefer that to saying I had 46. That helps you build. It helps you build character.”

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