Depth could be an issue going deeper into the season but the Jazz aren't thinking about that while all is well. Instead, Utah is building good habits and establishing their defence to gain some early-season momentum.
After the road win in Denver, a rematch of their thrilling first-round series in the 2020 playoffs, the Jazz extended their win streak to five and improved to 9-4, good for a tied second-best record in the league.
The Utah Jazz defence is back!
After recording a defensive rating of 109.3 in the 2019-20 season, good for 14th best in the league during a season that nearly lasted 365 days, the stifling Jazz defence is back in the 2020-21 season.
Anchored by two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, the team has ranked in the top 10 in four of the five previous seasons.
Through 13 games in the 2020-21 season, their defensive rating of 106.5 is seventh-best. They hold their opponents to a league-best shooting efficiency of 43.6%, while allowing an average of 105.4 points - good for 5th best.
Five of the team's nine wins have come by restricting their opponents to 100 points or fewer.
Their performance against their Northwest Division rivals in the Nuggets was by those numbers or better as they held Denver to 105 points on 40.0% shooting from the field.
📹| Hustle from everyone in a grind-it-out 𝐖 ⤵️#podiumpostgame | @podiumHQ pic.twitter.com/3SpICr1PwF- utahjazz (@utahjazz) January 18, 2021
In fact, during their current five-game win streak, which also included a road win in Milwaukee, the team's defensive rating is best in the league at 100.4.
"We're developing into what we want to be. We're getting there," Mitchell said after his team's fifth straight win. "This is a great, great road win."
Denver superstars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 65 points with the Serbian center falling one assist of a sixth triple-double for the season but no other Nuggets players finished in double digits.
"It feels good," Gobert said of the win. "It says we're hungry and we're a better team than we were last year. We know these games matter at the end of the year."
For the Jazz, who suited up without veteran Joe Ingles, six players finished in double figures led by 23 points off the bench from Jordan Clarkson. The 28-year-old leads the league in points off the bench with 228 through 13 games.
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