NEW YORK (AP) — Rudy Gobert is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, as good a stopper as there is in the league.
Even he wouldn’t want to mess with the Utah Jazz right now.
“I wouldn’t like to guard ourselves,” he said.
The Brooklyn Nets didn’t enjoy it, either.
Joe Ingles matched his career high with 27 points, Gobert had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and the Jazz ran their winning streak to 10 games by beating the Nets 118-107 on Tuesday night.
Donovan Mitchell returned from a one-game absence with an illness to score 25 points — 14 in the fourth quarter — and Bojan Bogdanovic had 18 for the Jazz, who opened a 20-point lead and impressively turned back every attempt by the Nets to make it close.
“We’re in a groove,” Mitchell said.
Kyrie Irving had 32 points and a season-high 11 assists in his second game back from a shoulder injury, but it mostly seemed he was trying to shoot the Nets back into a game the Jazz weren’t going to let go of in what became their 15th win in 16 games.
“You look at them on film and watch a few of their games and there’s a reason why they’re 15-1 in their last 16,” Irving said.
The Nets were coming off their best defensive performance of the season, allowing season lows in points and field goal percentage (33 per cent) in a 108-86 rout of Atlanta.
But they could never get comfortable against a Jazz team that had Gobert rolling inside and plenty of good shooters on the outside. Ingles was six of eight behind the arc and finished 10 of 14 overall, capitalising on the space created by defenders worrying about Gobert near the rim or Mitchell attacking it.