The Los Angeles Clippers found a way to exploit Rudy Gobert defensively in the Western Conference semifinals, something few teams can say they’ve done. It left Gobert clearly frustrated on Saturday a day after Utah’s elimination.
Gobert spoke at the team’s end-of-season media availability on Saturday and admitted he was incredibly frustrated with how the season ended. He also laid out why the Clippers’ offense was so problematic for him and his teammates, and how their plan backfired on Friday.
The Clippers focused heavily on the perimeter with their lineups and strategy, knowing they would force Gobert to either stay home and be less of a factor or come out to try to close down shooters. It successfully exploited Utah’s defense, culminating in a Game 6 effort that saw the Clippers attempt 39 threes while converting 20 of them.
That’s essentially why the Clippers’ plan worked perfectly. Gobert was presented with a dilemma, and he decided to take the option that seemed less damaging. It made sense on paper, but Terance Mann went 15-of-21 in Game 6, taking full advantage of the fact that the Jazz were willing to dare him to shoot.
The Clippers clearly made it a point to stay away from Gobert after losing the first two games. As a result, it was a very quiet series for the Defensive Player of the Year on both ends, as the Clippers consistently made the strategy work perfectly. It’s no coincidence that they won four in a row after committing to it. Full credit should go to Ty Lue for making the adjustment.
Rudy Gobert sent a nice tribute on Saturday to the late Mark Eaton.
Eaton went for a bike ride in Utah on Friday night and did not return home. Officers said he appeared to have crashed his bike.
The 64-year-old former Jazz center was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Gobert, who is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year like Eaton, shared the following tribute to his mentor and friend.
Eaton was a five-time All-Defensive honoree and four-time NBA block champion.
It’s fair to say Charles Barkley’s old-school sensibilities and some of the modern fashion choices of NBA players don’t really go together.
Barkley hilariously roasted Rudy Gobert when the Utah Jazz center was pictured arriving for Sunday’s game against Memphis in a unique-looking matching patterned combo. Barkley couldn’t help but comment — and he did not approve.
“What the hell is Rudy Gobert wearing?” Barkley asked incredulously. “You can’t wear pajamas to the game. What is that?”
Chuck doesn’t need to get modern fashion. On the other hand, he might want to reach out to Gobert, because it seems like he needs the pajamas more than Gobert does.
Rudy Gobert felt pretty silly after blowing the defensive coverage against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.
Gobert’s Jazz lost 105-104 to the Timberwolves. Minnesota took the lead on a D’Angelo Russell layup with under five seconds left. Gobert got lost defensively, which allowed Russell to be wide open.
After the game, Gobert took responsibility for the botched assignment. He said watching the replay makes him “feel dumb.”
There’s not much more you can say than that.
The Timberwolves’ performance against the Jazz this season has been a complete anomaly.
Minnesota has gone 3-0 against Utah this year even though the Jazz have the best record in the league. The Timberwolves are 15-44 against everyone else. The Jazz are 44-14 against everyone else, but 0-3 against Minnesota. Go figure.
Ben Simmons probably has that play locked and loaded in his arsenal to share when making his postseason awards case.
Rudy Gobert seems to have taken note of Ben Simmons’ recent attempt to posterize him.
The Utah Jazz big man appeared to respond to Simmons with a post to his Instagram Story this week. Gobert’s cryptic post read, “Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.”
Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers star, went at Gobert in an interview while hyping himself up for Defensive Player of the Year. Namely, he mentioned Gobert’s supposed inability to defend all five positions. Simmons also emphasized that he scored 42 in an earlier matchup against the Jazz.
Gobert is not too much of a trash-talker, and he doesn’t really need to be as a two-time DPOY winner on the team with the NBA’s best record this year. But he was not going to let Simmons get away with the diss entirely.
Ben Simmons once beefed with Donovan Mitchell over the Rookie of the Year Award. Now he is beefing with one of Mitchell’s teammates over another award.
The Philadelphia 76ers star appeared this week on ESPN’s “The Jump.” In the appearance, Simmons hyped himself up for Defensive Player of the Year while slighting Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, another top candidate.
“I’m one of those guys who can guard 1 through 5,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of respect for Rudy. I know what he’s capable of. I know he’s great down there in the paint. But he’s not guarding everybody, and that’s just what it is.
“He guarded me in Utah,” Simmons added about Gobert. “I had 42 [points], and apparently I’m not a scorer, so it is what is. But I have a lot of respect for him. But at the same time, I think it’s mine this year.”
Gobert, a two-time DPOY winner, is an elite rim protector. That is arguably the single most important defensive asset for a team to have. But in today’s era of switching screens and hunting mismatches, more versatile defenders such as Simmons who are just as effective out on the perimeter may be the preference for some.
This is actually not the first time Simmons has gone after Gobert. He has expressed skepticism about Gobert’s defensive ability before.
The Utah Jazz continue to hold the best record in the NBA, but many are still hesitant to regard them as championship favorites. Rudy Gobert seems to understand where those doubters are coming from.
The Jazz lost to the Washington Wizards 131-122 on Thursday night. They have gone 3-5 in their last eight and are not looking like a championship team.
After the defeat, Gobert said he understands why the team has doubters.
He’s right. Until this team wins anything of consequence, they’re not going to get the respect they’re seeking. It’s on them to earn it. And you don’t earn it by losing in the first round of the playoffs, like they did last season. Losing to the Wizards doesn’t help, either.
It’s better for the Jazz to drag through part of the season now than during the playoffs. Just don’t get the Jazz players started about the officials.
The Utah Jazz’s star players complained on Wednesday about the lack of respect they receive. Their arguments got a whole lot stronger after Thursday’s events.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant got to pick their teams for the All-Star Game on Thursday. Though Utah had two players make the team from the West — Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell — both players were chosen last.
What was the reason for that? James said no offense, but the Jazz have never been exciting.
Just wait until the people of Utah get a hold of that quote.
Mitchell and Gobert were furious with the officials after Wednesday’s game. Now they can add the disrespect surrounding the All-Star Game draft to their list of grievances.
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were livid with the officials after their Utah Jazz lost 131-123 in overtime to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Mitchell was ejected from the game late in OT after continuing to complain to officials.
He said after the loss that the game was “taken from us” and that the officiating was “getting out of hand.” Mitchell used some profanity in his postgame message about the refs.
Mitchell later showed an example on Twitter of a call he couldn’t believe.
Gobert shared a similar sentiment. The Jazz center said he felt “disrespected” by the officials. He said dealing with unfavorable officiating is a consequence of playing for a small-market team. He similarly used a curse word in his postgame comments.
Gobert even said he hoped the officials felt shame when they reviewed the game.
The sort of sentiment is nothing new for Gobert, who has complained about the officials in the past.
Darko Milicic and Shaquille O’Neal now have one point of common ground.
Milicic, the notorious ex-NBA bust, took a shot at Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert in an interview this week with European outlet 24 Sedam. In the interview, Milicic indicated that Gobert was massively overpaid, especially when compared to Denver Nuggets counterpart Nikola Jokic.
“We must be aware that money is the basis of NBA’s existence,” Milicic said, per EuroHoops. “If Gobert is worth that much money, then our Jokic should sign a contract for $500 million. That’s how much better he is than Rudy.
“For them [the NBA], marketing has always been in the first place and for the league to make it a show business as much as possible,” added Milicic, now 35. “Those numbers that are turning around today are simply unreal. Yes, a lot is spent and has to come back but to give so much money to someone is totally insane.”
Gobert, 27, agreed to a five-year, $205 million supermax extension with the Jazz over the offseason. He became eligible for the supermax as a Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and as a homegrown Jazz draftee who had accrued enough service time. Jokic, meanwhile, is in the third year of a five-year, $148 million max contract with Denver. For comparison, Milicic, who hails from Serbia like Jokic, made just $53 million in 11 NBA seasons.
It does sound like Milicic is striking while the iron is hot. Gobert just got embarrassed by Jokic in a recent head-to-head matchup, leading to some funny memes on Twitter.