In spite of deadline deals, surging Utah Jazz remain focused on making the playoffs
From NBA media reports
It doesn’t matter who wears those colorful uniforms in Utah, the goal remains the same. It’s playoffs or bust for the Jazz, who have watched the likes of All-Star Gordon Hayward, veterans George Hill and Joe Johnson and even an up and comer like Rodney Hood all exit the premises since last season’s playoff run. Hayward, of course, left via free agency. And Hill and Hood have been reunited in Cleveland after trade deadline deals sent them both to the Cavaliers.
The men who remain, however, guys like Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles and rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell, are undeterred. And that might explain the Jazz making some of the sweetest music they’ve made in years, riding the wave of an eight-game winning streak, the franchise’s best such run since 2010. As Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News details, the postseason dream lives for Quin Snyder’s team:
“For me, playoffs was always the goal,” Ingles said. “Obviously, as we’ve gone through a bit of adversity, I think we’ve still had that goal in mind but it obviously looked harder from the outside in but we’ve kept working.”
New acquisition Jae Crowder was in Vivint Arena but can’t suit up until all the physicals are cleared in the three-team deal. The Jazz acquired Crowder Thursday, along with former MVP Derrick Rose, while shipping Rodney Hood to Cleveland and Joe Johnson to Sacramento.
The team is unsure whether or not Crowder will be able to make his Jazz debut in Sunday’s game at Portland but he was able to witness the Donovan Mitchell dunkathon up close and personal.
Mitchell posted 25 points and six rebounds on the night with a pair of tomahawk jams in the second and fourth quarters. He recorded his 25th game of 20-plus points, which is the most among rookies this season while the Jazz were able to notch their longest win streak since 2010.
“This is the way we’ve wanted to play all year and I think it’s all starting to click,” Mitchell said. “I think Ricky kind of led the charge and kind of started it off and I think the San Antonio game we really realized that this is legit.”