Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, right, attempts to shoot as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert attempts to block during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)
Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — There looked to be some extra juice in a Rudy Gobert block.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year got fully vertical and sent Patrick Beverley’s floater attempt emphatically back at the Minnesota guard during Utah’s 120-108 win over the Timberwolves on Friday.
After what was said by Beverley earlier this month, it would have made sense for Gobert to want to make a bit of a statement.
For those that need a reminder, after a Utah win over the Timberwolves earlier this month, Beverley criticized how Utah’s defensive scheme don’t always have Gobert go mano a mano against some of the league’s top centers.
“You got Rudy Gobert out there guarding (Jarred) Vanderbilt,” Beverley said at the time. “And every time I hear he’s defensive player of the year. So, uh, whatever.”
After the block, Gobert screamed and flexed.
He claims, though, the celebration wasn’t directed toward Beverley or anybody else. The play came near the end of a pivotal 22-0 run by the Jazz in the fourth quarter. Gobert said the emotion that came out in that moment was simply a celebration of how his team was playing.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 1, 2022
“Not really,” Gobert said when asked if the block felt a little special considering it was against Beverley. “I had emotion. I always play with a bit of emotion. It was a good moment. It was a key moment of the game. We were playing great. We’re making a run. So, yeah, just a cool block. I think if it would have been anybody else I would have reacted the same.”
The end of Donovan Mitchell’s ‘Let’s go!’ tweets
On Nov. 26, Donovan Mitchell hit send on his typical “Let’s go!” tweet. At that point, no one would have expected that to be a major moment. Since entering the NBA in 2017, Mitchell has sent out a similar tweet in just about every game he’s played. So why was that one special?
It marked the end of an era.
The Jazz lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 98-97 that night, marking a low point in the season. Mitchell hasn’t sent that once-customary tweet since.
“I was hoping it went unnoticed,” Mitchell said with a smile when he was asked about the once-traditional tweet. “I had just been, in a word, really (bad) up to that point. And I’m very superstitious and sometimes it’s just time to get out of a rhythm, and I tried it and yeah, that’s where it is.”
It was time to try something new. And, well, it’s hard to argue with the results.
The Jazz have gone 14-2 since Mitchell stopped sending the tweet before games, and he’s been among the league’s best players, too.
Mitchell has averaged 29.5 points in the 14 games he’s played over that stretch, which ranks fourth in the NBA. In December, he averaged 30.2 points, 5.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds, giving him quite the strong case for Western Conference Player of the Month.
That’s all things to say “Let’s go!” about, which is exactly why Mitchell likely won’t be sending that tweet out again anytime soon.
Trent Forrest reflects on first start
With Joe Ingles and Mike Conley both sitting out Friday’s game, the Jazz were in need of another ball handler in their starting lineup.
During Friday morning’s shootaround, Ingles mentioned to two-way player Trent Forrest that he was going to be the one called on. Then a couple of assistant coaches talked to him about it, and that’s when it hit him: He was going to start in an NBA game.
“Nerves wise, it wasn’t too bad,” Forrest said. “Like, I probably was more excited than anything. I mean, Donovan is kind of one of the main guys that’s always kind of telling me that they trust me and things like that. So, I mean, when you have a guy like that saying that, I’m not gonna say it’s not hard to be nervous, but I mean, he kind of makes it easy to kind of just come in and do what I do.”
Forrest played 21 minutes and finished with 4 points, three rebounds and three assists. So how did he think he did?
“I would say well, until I got scored on three times in a row,” Forrest said. “I went to the bench and I was pretty pissed.”
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