The Utah Jazz will bring the NBA’s longest current win streak into a home matchup with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, riding a seven-game streak overall and a five-game winning run in their own building.
No Western Conference team has fewer defeats in their arena than the Jazz, whose 14-3 record in Salt Lake City has been built on Donovan Mitchell’s consistent scoring and Rudy Gobert’s inside presence.
And while the addition of point guard Mike Conley has not yielded much because of a hamstring injury, the arrival of Bojan Bogdanovic has been beneficial to both parties. In his sixth season in the NBA, Bogdanovic has delivered a career-best 20.9 points per game, as well as 4.4 rebounds in his first season in Utah.
Bogdanovic’s latest 20-point game came Wednesday in a 128-104 victory over the New York Knicks. And in a sign of just how much the Jazz is getting from its roster, backup point guard Emmanuel Mudiay also delivered 20 points Wednesday, a season high. Mudiay also is in his first season with the Jazz.
Head coach Quin Snyder’s team is only getting better with 12 victories in their last 13 games after a stretch when they lost six of eight. It was a stumble that started the week of Thanksgiving and continued through the first week of December.
Mudiay has no problem giving credit to Snyder for his own success that has his turnover numbers down to a career low 1.6 per game.
“My IQ has improved,” Mudiay told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “I thought I was a pretty OK, smart player until I came here. When I came here, (Snyder) took it to another level. … He’s one of the best communicators out there as coaches. We talk a lot. Just having that dialogue is big.”
The Hornets are nowhere near as in sync, entering on a two-game slide while also having lost eight of their last 10.
One of the Hornets’ defeats in that 10-game stretch was a 114-107 heartbreaker to the Jazz when they shot 58 percent from the field in the first half and led by eight at the break but still lost.
Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 26 points in that meeting, while Gobert had 19 rebounds. Terry Rozier had a game-high 29 points for the Hornets on 11-of-24 shooting from the field. Rozier has averaged 22.4 points per game starting with that contest against the Jazz, above his 18.3 mark on the season.
Rozier scored 27 points Wednesday, his fourth consecutive game with at least that many points, but the Hornets fell in another heartbreaker, losing 112-110 in overtime to the Toronto Raptors.
“It stinks in the moment, but we keep our heads up, keep battling and keep moving forward,” Hornets head coach James Borrego told reporters afterward. “(We) put ourselves in a great position, got up 10 late, but give them credit, they made shots. We didn’t execute in those moments. We could have done a better job of closing that game out. It’s unfortunate, but we learn from that and we move on.”
–Field Level Media