Utah Catches Fire Late | Utah Jazz

Before the turn of the new year, Utah head coach Quin Snyder had some great words to say regarding forward Bojan Bogdanovic.

Unprompted following a victory over Minnesota on New Year’s Eve, Snyder said, “He always seems to hit a big three-pointer when we need it.”

As usual, Snyder was correct.

Bogdanovic knocked down back-to-back three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to stymie a late New Orleans run, giving the Jazz a 115-104 victory over the Pelicans on Monday night.

“That’s what I saw late. … Just everybody making an effort to be involved in a play,” Snyder said postgame. “Opposed to guys watching and hoping someone else is gonna get in and ‘Shoot, they got it.’ I thought the glass late was big.”

After getting off to a slow start, Bogdanovic caught fire late as he dropped 12 of his 21 points in the third quarter. He shot 8-of-17 from the floor and 5-for-11 from beyond the arc, adding three rebounds as well.

But his biggest shots came in the fourth quarter when the Jazz needed him most.

Utah led by as many as 15 midway through the final 12 minutes but went cold from the field as New Orleans went on a 12-3 run to cut the Jazz lead to six with just under three minutes to play.

Enter Bogey!

Bogdanovic hit his first three-pointer from the right wing following a pass from Mike Conley. After the Jazz got a stop on the defensive end, Donovan Mitchell found Bogdanovic on the opposite corner, where he splashed home another one from beyond the arc — giving Utah a 12-point lead and putting the nail in the Pelicans coffin.

Bogdanovic wasn’t the only Jazz to get off to a slow start, as Mitchell wasn’t nearly as aggressive as he usually is after struggling the previous game. But it was only a matter of time before he found his rhythm, and it showed in both the fourth quarter and second half as a whole.

After scoring just 10 points in the opening half, Mitchell finished with 29 for the game, including 10 straight for the Jazz to help achieve that significant lead in the fourth quarter. He finished 11-of-19 from the field and 5-for-9 from three-point territory, adding five assists, three steals, and three rebounds.

“The screw-it mentality, just letting it fly, letting shots go,” Mitchell said about what was different tonight compared to his 4-for-19 showing Saturday night. “I said it after the (Warriors) game, sometimes the best reads are just, ‘Shoot it.'”

With the Jazz’s top two scorers getting off the slow starts, Conley picked up the slack with 12 points and a +9 rating in the first half. But he was even better in the second half, helping facilitate things for Mitchell and Bogdanovic to get them going.

Conley finished with a near triple-double of 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and a game-high +24 rating. His ability to transition between being an effective scorer and finding his teammates for open shots helped spark the second half turnaround for Utah.

The first of a five-game road trip, the Jazz got off to a slow start and trailed 24-23 after the first quarter.

The best offense in the league started to find some rhythm and energy in the second quarter, going on a 15-4 run late in the half to take a 52-49 lead at the break.

After the Pelicans scored the opening bucket of the third quarter, the Jazz went on a 15-4 run to lead by 12. But that was the largest the lead would get as New Orleans refused to quit and battled back, cutting Utah’s lead to 82-77 entering the fourth.

“We were in mud early in the game, and when that happens, we basically build a wall for ourselves,” Snyder said of the first half. “We can’t have any pace. We can’t have any force.”

Rudy Gobert finished with another double-double, posting 10 points, 17 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay combined for 23 points off the bench.

Jonas Valanciunas finished with 25 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans but had a -11 rating due to the play of Gobert. The Jazz did a phenomenal job defending Brandon Ingram, limiting him to 10 points on 3-of-18 shooting.

Utah now comes back to the Mountain West for a showdown with Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night in Denver. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. MST on TNT.

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