The fittest team in the league right now, with nine straight wins, the Jazz had to draw on their resources to win the latter last night against the Knicks.
Despite a 5/25 on shots accumulated by Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic, and a huge heat stroke from Austin Rivers in the first half, Utah came out thanks to Mike Conley Jr. and Rudy Gobert, two of his frames. But also, by the work of Royce O’Neale, best scorer of Jazz with 20 units.
“He’s a hard worker who never stops”
It was also O’Neale who set the example at the start of the match with the two only successes of 3-point Jazz… on their first twelve attempts. But also aggressive defense, his trademark.
“It’s the Royce we all know. He’s a dog, he’ll always bring and work. He is a hard worker who never stops. His journey to arrive in the NBA is different from the others, with constant persistence and a lot of work ”, likes Donovan Mitchell in the Salt Lake Tribune. “Evenings like this are therefore not surprising. “
What’s more is that those 20 points are now the 27-year-old winger’s new career record. The former Baylor is certainly not a born striker, but in his fourth NBA year, he thus reaches for the first time the bar of the twenties.
“People often talk about winning ugly matches. Well [hier] evening this ugly match was good for us ”, smiles Quin Snyder. “We owe this victory above all to our defense. “
Exercise specialist Royce O’Neale had Julius Randle struggling last night, making him 10 cm and 10 kilos. The Knick finished 18 points, 10 rebounds but 6/16 on shots while, at the same time, the Utah player was decisive for his team with three actions to seal his team’s 9th straight win.
“Royce is the glue that holds the team together”
“Royce is the glue that holds the team together”, adds Mike Conley, author of 12 quick points in the first five minutes of the 3rd quarter. “Every night, he is asked to defend on the best opposing player, to create situations for his teammates in attack with the ball in hand, but some evenings, he positions himself just in the corners and angles to shoot at 3-points , or other nights, he just runs creating spaces, taking offensive rebounds and giving us extra possessions. This kind of stuff is vital for our team, and it’s not something that goes unnoticed for us. We know how important he is, and tonight he really showed it. “
In Jazz, Royce O’Neale has found something to suit him. Blue collar not drafted in 2015, having started his career in Germany, in Ludwigsburg, then in Spain in Gran Canaria (where he won the Super Cup in 2016), he established himself in the NBA season after season.
With 8 points at 45% at 3-points this year, Royce O’Neale achieved his best campaign, perfectly complementary to Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic on the wings. With Rudy Gobert under the circle and Mike Conley in first blade, he completes the triangle of defenders in the five major of Jazz.
“We kept our focus on defense, we didn’t focus on our failed shots on offense and all of a sudden we managed to line up stops and our shots started falling in. It is really our identity ”, assure Rudy Gobert. “I think we understand it better now and accept it more than ever. It’s very motivating to be part of a team that takes pride in doing the little things in defense, because that’s what you have to do to become the team you want to be. “
Royce O’Neale understood it for a long time: it is by shining in his role that we can make our place in the sun.