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The Utah Jazz have won 11 straight games and explosive guard Donovan Mitchell is making a case for NBA Rookie of the Year.
Stop us if you saw this story coming.
Truth is, most people did not — not NBA experts, not other people in charge of drafting players, and probably not the Utah Jazz themselves.
But here the Jazz are today, the league’s hottest team. The latest victory took place Wednesday night, when the Jazz downed the setting Phoenix Suns by a 107-97 count.
Mitchell continued his march toward being the biggest hoops hero the Jazz have seen since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone, scoring 24 points, including 10 in the crucial fourth quarter.
Also being credited with playing major role in the previous three wins? No less than Jae Crowder, who comes off the bench after Thursday’s trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Crowder very clearly fits Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s system well. In his three games with the Jazz, Crowder has scored 15 points, then 14 points, followed by 15 again Wednesday. He has been the biggest key in reserve, as the rest of Utah’s bench combined for just four points against the Suns.
“He’s responsible for learning some of this on the fly,” Snyder told reporters about Crowder. “He’s a smart guy and an intelligent player. That takes time, but I think he’ll be up to speed quickly.”
So far, so good for Crowder. So far, so great for Mitchell. And so far, so even better for the entire Jazz team heading into All-Star weekend.