After struggling to shoot the ball for much of the season, Utah head coach Quin Snyder knew it was just a matter of time before the Jazz broke out of their mini slump.

“It (the ball) can’t go in if you don’t shoot,” Snyder said. “As long as we are taking good ones, we just maintain our confidence. We got guys that are good shooters, and things even out over time.”

Snyder was proven right as Utah started the game 5-for-5 from beyond the arc, en route to a 107-95 victory over Milwaukee on Halloween night.

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

1.) Welcome Back, Donovan Mitchell
It’s no secret that Mitchell has been struggling shooting the ball this season. With his numbers significantly lower than his career averages this year, it was only a matter of time until he broke out in a big way.

Halloween night in Milwaukee against the defending champs was the perfect environment to snap out of it. 

Mitchell was highly efficient against the Bucks, finishing with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor, 4-for-9 from beyond the arc, and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. He also added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals while finishing +11 from the floor.

But his most significant contributions came in the fourth quarter when he ignited a late run with five consecutive points, dropping 11 in the final 5:35 to help Utah pull out the win.

“That was a pivotal point in the game, that’s really my job to go out there and have that imprint at that moment,” Mitchell said. “For us, I hit a few shots, and we got some stops. Being able to push the lead out and put foot on the gas a bit more, I did that. We all did that as a group.”

2.) Mike Conley Resting Is A Good Thing
When Snyder elected to rest Conley (right knee injury maintenance) on Saturday night against the Bulls, it was made to keep his all-star point guard healthy come April, May, and June.

Snyder knows how valuable Conley is to the Jazz as he’s the one who finds calm and peace throughout the chaos. But with Utah playing Sunday night against Milwaukee, Snyder elected to have his point guard available for the game against the defending champs.

“It’s more of a holistic decision and one that we think is the best thing for our team and for Mike,” Snyder said of resting Conley. “I think, given the choice, he’d try to play every back to back but not I’m not going to let him do that.”

It appears resting was a good thing for Conley. 

He finished with a season-high 20 points (4-of-7 from deep) with three rebounds and two assists. Most importantly though, he served as Utah’s primary ball-handler as the Jazz turned it over just 12 times – much better than the 20 turnovers in Conley’s absence against the Bulls.

3.) All Good Things Come To An End
For 99 consecutive games, Jordan Clarkson got up off the bench, walked to the scorer’s table to check into the game, and hit a three-pointer.

Unfortunately, Clarkson couldn’t get to triple digits as he finished Sunday night 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. It’s always sad to see an impressive streak like that come to an end, but to anybody who knows Clarkson, it was ‘meh.’

“Nope, Nah, it’s over,” Clarkson said with a laugh and a shrug after being asked about the streak ending. “Start another one, that’s it.”

Despite the streak ending, Clarkson was still instrumental in Utah’s victory. A known shot-maker off the bench, it was his defense that made the difference as he had two key steals late in the fourth quarter.

“I feel like I’ve been saying it for a long time about his care factor and his will,” Snyder said of Clarkson. “He’s got a lot of pride. He can really score, but he wants to win more than he can score. … Those were big plays (at the end).”

4.) First Road Trip A Success
It’s always daunting heading out on the road for the first trip of the year, but Utah passed its with flying colors. 

The Jazz quickly dispatched a rebuilding Houston team, struggled to finish in the fourth quarter against an excellent Bulls team, but then rebounded with a victory over the defending champions.

What made this road trip a success apart from the 2-1 record was how the Jazz were able to win games.

Against the Bucks on Sunday night, the team was able to withstand defensive pressure and physicality a lot better than the night prior against the Bulls. Mitchell was elite and proved to be a killer still when it mattered most. 

While the offense is still finding its rhythm, Snyder and the defense are in midseason form. The Jazz combined to hold their three opponents to an average of 38.7% shooting from the floor, proving that an efficient offense isn’t always what’s needed to win.

It’s known that the offense will begin to flourish as all those open shots will start finding the bottom of the net. But this road trip proved that even when the shots aren’t falling, victories are still possible with elite defense.

5.) Bojan Bogdanovic Continues To Be Consistent
It’s been quite the start for Bogdanovic.

After a frustrating end to last season when he was still recovering from injury, Bogdanovic has proven that it’s far behind him and he’s ready to roll.

He’s scored in double figures to start every game this year, averaging 16.2 points per game, and has often emerged as the perfect complementary scorer to Mitchell. He also has a knack for hitting big shots late in the fourth quarter, as evident in victories over Sacramento and Denver.

What’s most impressive is the variety of ways in which he’s scoring.

A career 39.1% three-point shooter, Bogdanovic is only knocking down 32.1% this season — yet he’s averaging right around the same amount of points as last year. Once his shots start to fall, this Utah offense will take another step forward into being one of the most dynamic in the league.


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