Ricky Rubio continues hot streak as Jazz win seventh straight ahead of trade deadline
MEMPHIS — The clock is ticking.
Teams have less than 24 hours to make a move before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
Numerous rumors have surfaced surrounding the Utah Jazz, but coach Quin Snyder and the players are leaving those decisions to general manager Dennis Lindsey and his front office staff.
“I don’t think you change your approach until something changes,” Snyder said. “The way we have gone about business is every single day we have shown up and gone to work.
Although it was ugly, Utah used Snyder’s stay-in-the-moment philosophy to gut out their season-high seventh consecutive victory Wednesday on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, 92-88.
Ekpe Udoh was not with the team for personal reasons but the Jazz scrapped out another win without him to wrap up the four-game road trip.
Worrying about who’s staying and who’s leaving after the trade deadline wasn’t a concern just yet.
“You treat it with the same approach,” Snyder said. “We don’t treat Monday different than Sunday or trade deadline day different than Tuesday. Every day is the same day for us; we show up and we go to work.”
Both teams were bad from the field, connecting on an identical 42 percent of their shots.
Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio was the lone offensive bright spot for the team with 29 points, eight rebounds and three steals on 8-for-16 shooting. Over the last five games, Rubio has averaged 24 points, 8.6 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from 3.
He said he’s never felt this good offensively throughout his career.
“A little bit but not as much as I do now,” Rubio said. “I’m confident and I know I can bring it every night. I know it’s tough in the NBA and the defense can adjust with what they can do on a lot of things but I’m feeling good, I’m playing with confidence and I want to keep going.”
Utah’s bench outscored the Grizzlies, 37-17 and the Jazz led by as many as 11. Rodney Hood contributed 18 points and two assists in 23 minutes off the pine in what could be his last game as a Jazzman with his name in the middle of trade rumors. He stayed aggressive throughout the entire game.
“That’s what I’m just trying to do,” Hood said. “That’s just evolution of what I’m trying to do as a scorer in this league. I’m getting better at it game by game, and I’ve just got to keep going like tonight, getting to the free throw line. Other nights I might get hot, you just never know and have got to stay aggressive.”
Frustration began to mount for the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter as Grizzlies interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was ejected after being hit with his second technical with 7:41 left in the fourth. His coaching staff had to restrain him from the referee Marc Davis but he later calmed down.
“I think it was more one-sided than it was me and Marc Davis,” Bickerstaff said. “Andrew (Harrison) was having a conversation with him. I told (Harrison) to ignore the conversation, ‘Go play.’ That’s a technical foul, apparently.”
Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks was also tossed in the final 25.5 seconds of regulation, despite scoring 11 points and six rebounds.
“What I said was ‘He hit my foot,’” Brooks said. “That’s all I really said. The ejection is the ejection and that’s what the ref called.”
Jazz center Rudy Gobert snagged 12 rebounds with eight points and two blocks for the Jazz as they also won their sixth game on the road. Donovan Mitchell was held below double digits for the second straight night with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Memphis fell to 3-8 on the second night of a back-to-back this season.
Utah (26-28) will return to Vivint Arena Friday to face the Charlotte Hornets.
Whether or not a new team will be intact after the trade deadline has yet to play out, but for now guys are enjoying the ride.
“It’s great. It’s a great feeling,” Gobert said of the seven-game win streak. “It’s our first road trip without a loss, so we’ll build on that and keep getting better.”
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Published at Thu, 08 Feb 2018 05:25:00 +0000