A big win over the Lakers, but the Utah Jazz's 13-year triple-double drought continues

by Aaron Falk

On Feb. 13, 2008, Carlos Boozer played for the Utah Jazz. He played a game against the Seattle Supersonics, who were an NBA team. He scored 22 points, grabbed 11 boards and dished out 10 assists.

On that same day, Feb. 13, 2008, the No. 1 song in the U.S. was Alicia Keys’ “No One.”

And that’s exactly who else has made their way onto the list of Utah Jazz regular-season triple-doubles since Boozer did it 13 years ago.

Donovan Mitchell checked out of what would end up a 114-89 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter Wednesday night. The All-Star guard had 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. He made his way to the bench and slapped hands with Mike Conley, who had flirted with a triple-double himself, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

After finishing a lone rebound shy of a triple-double earlier this year against the Pacers, Mitchell knew how close he was to this one.

“I was a little more aware of this one than the Indiana game, I’ll say that,” Mitchell admitted.

He went looking to get teammates involved even more in his final minutes on the floor, but each pass seemed to end in his teammates getting fouled.

“I can honestly say that if it was meant to happen, it was meant to happen,” he said. “I went out there and tried to make the plays. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

So the wait continues.

 

BIG GAME TAKEAWAYS?

 The fact that we are discussing trivia after a game against LeBron James and the third-place Los Angeles Lakers should tell you just how dominant the Jazz were against the shorthanded Lake Show. The Jazz led by as much as 29 on the night and never trailed for exactly 1:42, a minor blip in the game’s first quarter.

This was technically a matchup of two of the West’s top three teams, but Jazz head coach Quin Snyder knows his squad can’t take too big of a victory lap after this one. The Lakers were without All-Star forward Anthony Davis and point guard Dennis Schroder, a combined 36.2 points per game on the season.

“They’re the defending champs, one of the best teams in the league,” Snyder said. “Our focus is just trying to get better, no matter who we’re playing or what the situation. Those are the things we want to take with us.”

But after losing big to the Brooklyn Nets, who were missing All-Star forward Kevin Durant, earlier in the season, Mitchell was glad to see the Jazz had learned a lesson this time around.

“We came into this game and understood they still have LeBron and there are going to be … others who are going to be more aggressive,” Mitchell said. “At the end of the day, everyone’s coming for us. The best thing about this game is we continued to keep our foot on the gas the whole way. There wasn’t a moment where we let up.”

 

CONLEY DOES IT HIS WAY

When Mike Conley was left off the Western Conference All-Star team, his teammates hoped he would still get in as an injury replacement. If not, they said, the snub would only serve as motivation.

“That will be something that will fuel him even more,” Mitchell said.

So when the NBA commissioner named Phoenix’s Devin Booker as that injury replacement on Wednesday afternoon, few would have been surprised to see Conley come out with something to prove that night.

The point guard wasted no time, pulling up and hitting a 3 for the first points of the game. Conley followed that up with a layup and another 3-pointer in the next couple of minutes. But when a play was called for Conley to fire up another look at a 3, the point guard changed it to try to get Mitchell a bucket.

“Bro. Stop. Shoot it,” Mitchell said.

But that’s not how Conley wanted this night to go.

Conley was certainly disappointed and frustrated after being passed over, first as a reserve and then as an injury replacement.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s kind of how my career has been,” he said. “… It was tough. I really, really thought this was the year. I’ve joked with the guys on the team that I blame them; we should have started 31-0. But I don’t know what else to do.”

And Conley admitted he was also motivated.

Remember Karl Malone’s 61-point performance the day after his All-Star snub? That’s what made the Mailman great. Conley’s greatness looks different.

“Mike could have easily just went for 40,” Mitchell said. “But he wanted to do it his way, which is team basketball.”

Conley finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

“He could have easily went out there and said, I’m going to shoot and show that I’m [an All-Star],” Mitchell said. “He continued to play his way and his basketball. That’s maturity and unselfishness. That just stands out with Mike throughout his entire career.”

Conley checked out of the game with 6:59 left in the game and his team up by 22 points.

“A lot of these games we’ve played we’ve won by a lot, double-digits,” Conley said. “You’re not usually playing in the fourth quarter. As far as statistics, our team is that good right now and our team is that balanced across the board. We’re making history in so many different ways and we should be rewarded for that.”

Wednesday’s Best

Notable

LeBron James wasn’t exactly thrilled when the NBA announced its plans to hold an All-Star game this year.

After an abbreviated offseason and, now, in the midst of a season condensed due the pandemic, the Lakers forward earlier this month said he had “zero energy and zero excitement” for the showcase game.

As the man now tasked with leading Team LeBron next month in Atlanta, how will Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder go about things?

“He’s been to 17 All-Star games. He’s got a little more experience in this,” Snyder said Wednesday. “I think you’re sensitive to those situations with players. It’s something you want to consult them on and see where they are with things like fatigue and whatever the case may be. . That’s what you’re supposed to do as a coach anyway, just communicate with your players.”

The second half of the NBA schedule was released Wednesday.

The team has waived guard Shaquille Harrison.

Donovan Mitchell will be in the 3-Point Contest.

Up Next

The road calls for the Utah Jazz, who head out on a four-game swing to close out the season’s first half. First up: Miami. Tipoff against the Heat is set for Friday at 6 p.m.

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