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Rudy Gobert says the red-hot Utah Jazz can get even better

Monday 13 January 2020 08:19, UK

Bojan Bogdanovic scores at the basket against Washington 1:53
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points to lead the Utah Jazz their ninth straight win, a 127-116 victory over the Washington Wizards

Even though the Utah Jazz are on their biggest roll in two years, their center Rudy Gobert believes they can get a lot better.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points and Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Jazz beat the Washington Wizards 127-116 on Sunday for their ninth straight victory.

Bojan Bogdanovic scores at the basket against Washington 1:53
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points to lead the Utah Jazz their ninth straight win, a 127-116 victory over the Washington Wizards

Utah overcame a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to win for the 14th time in 15 games and climb into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets.

"It is pretty good, but we feel like we can be a lot better," Gobert said. "The goal is not just to be second in the West, but be the best team in the West at the end of the playoffs."

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Jordan Clarkson added 17 of his 23 points in the second half for the Jazz, one of six players in double figures as team scoring leader Donovan Mitchell sat out because of an illness.

"Obviously, Donovan is one of our key guys, so there is always going to be a lot of adjustment, a little different from any player," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "I thought our guys did a really good job of absorbing that collectively."

Washington and Utah 1:10
Highlights of the Utah Jazz's visit to the Washington Wizards in Week 12 of the NBA

Utah's nine-game streak lines up exactly with Clarkson's arrival in a trade from Cleveland on December 24. His 23 points bested his previous high for Utah of 20 twice.

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"He made some huge plays, through the whole game, but especially at the end," Gobert said. "Getting to the rim, getting fouled, finding the open way, he did a tremendous job."

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Bradley Beal scored 25 points for Washington after missing five games with right leg soreness.

The Jazz opened the fourth quarter on a 14-5 run to build their lead to 11. Washington would close it to within three once, but Gobert's three dunks inside the final four minutes helped seal the win.

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"(Gobert) does a good job of just being seven feet and using his arms and his length to his advantage," Beal said.

NBA analysts Brian Shaw and Kevin McHale gave their reaction to Utah's victory on Gametime.

Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz 3:19
Kevin McHale says Utah's winning streak has been fuelled by excellent outside shooting and praises the outside threat of Joe Ingles since he entered the starting line-up

Shaw praised the impact Clarkson since making his made to the Jazz: "He has been their scoring punch, most of the time off the bench. I coached him a couple of years ago in LA. He is a natural scorer who always plays in attack mode. He can get to the basket and the free throw line. I think he was exactly what the Jazz needed."

McHale said Utah's improved shooting has been vital in their winning run.

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"In this winning streak, they are shooting almost 52 per cent from the field. They are knocking down 41 per cent of their three-point shots. The offense is really clicking. Their shooters are making shots and Joe Ingles has been a great playmaker," he said.

"When you start throwing that ball around the perimeter and you get wide open shots, they are knocking down the threes and shooting as well as anybody.

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"I like the fact Ingles has fit (in the starting line-up) way better than Mike Conley has, as far as being a facilitator. He doesn't have the gaudy numbers but he plays the same way every single night. They generate a boat-load of open shots and they are making them. They are in a nice rhythm offensively."

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