SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - NOVEMBER 16: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz rebounds the ball against Paul Reed #44 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half during a game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on November 16, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Five Things To Know Following Utah's Win Over Philadelphia

From Bogdanovic's big game to Gobert's dominance on defense, the Jazz appear to have broken out of their early-season slump

Part of Tuesday night's game against Philadelphia was about the return of Georges Niang.

Niang, commonly referred to as 'The Minivan' by the Utah faithful, signed with the 76ers in the offseason and is amidst a breakout season. While with the Jazz, he carved out a substantial role as part of Quin Snyder's regular rotation by serving as a sharpshooting backup forward capable of spacing the floor.

Ironically enough, on a night when the Jazz were honoring one of their top shooters from last season, it was the current roster who found its groove from beyond the arc.

After struggling to see shots go through the hoop for much of the year, Utah broke out in a big way as the Jazz took down Philadelphia 120-85 on Tuesday night.

"I just thought the consistency, the sustained effort (was there). … Really it's transition as much as anything, get to the next play," Snyder said postgame. "Whether we make a good play that we're happy about offensively or we make a mistake to be able to get back and protect the paint."

Here are five things you need to know following the win:

1.) Jazz Focused On Defense and Transition
The Jazz haven't been in the best rhythm of late as struggles with transition defense and giving up offensive rebounds led to them losing four of their past five games.

That wasn't an issue on Tuesday night.

Utah not only dominated the rebounding game 56-42, but the Jazz also gave up just 10 fast break points. The concentrated effort on the defensive side of the ball allowed them to get out in transition and help spark what many are hoping is the breakthrough offensive game the team has been needing.

"Our defense, everything started with our defense," Bojan Bogdanovic said. "Finally we controlled our boards and it was easy for us to play off our defense and in transition. Everything started with our defense. ... If we play defense the way we played tonight, we'll have a chance to win every single game."

Throughout the relentless questions all season about the state of the team's offense, Snyder kept reiterating how it was the defensive issues that were part of causing the problems on offense. His point was proven against the 76ers — and could very well set the stage for what's to come.

2.) A Win Is A Win, Regardless Of Who's Playing
It's hard enough to win in the NBA regardless of who's on the court — and the Jazz know this better than most. In their last two losses against Indiana and Miami, each team was without critical starters, and somehow Utah was unable to pull out the victories. 

That's why Tuesday mattered to the Jazz.

While outsiders may not put much stock into Utah's victory over Philadelphia, considering the 76ers were without all-stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and key starters Matisse Thybulle and Danny Green, the Jazz aren't listening.

Utah went out and did exactly what was expected — they thoroughly dominated from start to finish a shorthanded Philadelphia squad. 

But what was most impressive is that once the Jazz had the 76ers on the rope, they never let them get off. Utah kept attacking on offense by pushing the ball in transition while the defense continued to contest shots and grab rebounds. 

It was a win that could pay huge dividends as it not only ended a two-game losing streak, it could potentially spark a winning streak after the team was able to find a rhythm on both sides of the court.

"The other teams as well that beat us playing without starters, so no matter who is playing, the other guys are playing well," Bogdanovic said. "We got to have the same focus and energy."

3.) Bogdanovic Stays Hot — VERY HOT
The outcome felt set in stone when Utah entered the fourth quarter against Miami last Saturday, trailing by 26 points. But then Bogdanovic caught fire, scoring 19 points in the final 12 minutes as the Jazz were able to trim the deficit to four points before succumbing in the end.

It was a loss that hurt, especially considering how the team played for the first three quarters. But the positives were everything in that fourth quarter, sensing as if the group began to find its rhythm and identity on both ends of the court.

Safe to say that Bogdanovic has found and continued his rhythm on offense.

Against Philadelphia, he finished with a game-high 27 points on 5-for-7 from deep, adding six rebounds and two assists for good measure. His ability to take the scoring pressure off Donovan Mitchell has been a welcome revelation as the Jazz are that much more dangerous, with Bogdanovic shooting well from deep.

Bogdanovic is averaging 18.9 points per game through eight games in November — four of which have come with him scoring 20+ points. 

The more Bogdanovic continues to be a legitimate second scoring option for the Jazz, the more Utah looks like a serious threat in the Western Conference.

4.) Rudy Gobert Has A Block Party
A lot of talk has been about Gobert and his offensive prowess this season — and for good reason.

His 14.9 points per game ranks third-best in his career, while his 15.3 rebounds per game are the best he's posted. He's showed off a more diverse skillset with the ability to not just finish through traffic, but knock down his free throws at a high rate to prevent teams from purposely fouling him late in games.

But Tuesday's performance reminded everyone why Gobert is a three-time defensive player of the year and widely regarded as one of the best interior defenders of all time. 

With Embiid and Simmons sidelined, Gobert was able to take advantage in the paint, finishing with another double-double of 15 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks. His blocks were a season-high as he thoroughly dominated Philadelphia's Andre Drummond, having a +/- differential of +41 for the game between the two.

"We were switching most of the time one-through-five. … We did a great job," Gobert said. "For the most part, everyone did a great job guarding their man, staying in front of their man, and communicating."

The Jazz know how valuable Gobert is to them, so that's why it's been a priority a sixth of the way into the season to establish him on the offensive end. But nights like Tuesday always serve as a good reminder that even when Gobert might not be putting up monster numbers, his impact on the defensive end is enough to change the outcome of any game.

5.) Jazz Can End Homestand On A High Note, Start Something Special
With Thursday's game against Toronto now fast approaching, the Jazz will have the opportunity to end their five-game homestand on a high note and winning record. But what made Tuesday so special is that it was the sort of victory that could spark a substantial early-season run.

Utah's next 11 games all come against teams currently .500 or below — with six of them at home. It's the sort of schedule that could see the Jazz pick up some much-needed momentum heading into the holidays.

But more importantly, Utah appeared to break out of its early-season slump shooting the ball. The Jazz shot 51.7% (46-for-89) from the floor and 42.1% (16-for-38) three-point territory, some of their highest marks on the season thus far.

More impressive though, the 120 points scored came with Mitchell only scoring 13 points and playing in 22 minutes. All 13 players who played against the 76ers scored, showcasing this team's unique depth. 

If Utah did indeed find its shooting touch while playing its best defensive game of the season, the Jazz will be able to look back on this game as a potential turning for the year.

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