Rudy Gobert made crucial plays on the defensive end, which helped the Utah Jazz escape the uprising Cleveland Cavaliers, 109-108. Gobert had the last laugh against rising star Evan Mobley in the showdown among big men, but the rookie may have learned a thing or two in the process that could help him in his career.
Utah beats the Cavs
The game was exciting as the Cavs rallied from 15 points down and came close to snatching a win against the Jazz. People expected it would be an easy game for the 15-6 Jazz, but the 13-10 Cavs had different plans. Cleveland had solid contributions from Darius Garland (31 points), Jarrett Allen (17 points, 11 rebounds), Cedi Osman (11 points, five rebounds), and Ricky Rubio (15 points, two assists). Meanwhile, Evan Mobley, who won the Rookie of the Month for November, had a quiet double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Cavaliers are proving they may be young, but they can give contenders a run for their money. With Garland, Allen, and Mobley leading the way, the Cavs have exceeded expectations this season after undergoing a retooled lineup in the summer. With star Collin Sexton out due to injury and Kevin Love missing some games due to Covid, the team needed all the help they could get from their young players. Mobley had been one of the bright spots for Cleveland, and the rookie had been showing maturity beyond his years. Evan is averaging 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game, making experts salivate at the progress he could make in the following years.
The 7-footer is agile for his size and likes to challenge shots using his 7’4” wingspan. The rare combination of skills prompted Bill Simmons to call him the next KG. However, his penchant for the defense started a comparison to another big man, which just taught him a lesson.
Mobley and Gobert’s similarities
Mobley’s game was compared to the Frenchman before entering the NBA. Seth Davis and Kelly Iko of The Athletic revealed the former USC Trojan star’s similarities with Rudy.
“I could see Mobley being in the Rudy Gobert mode defensively. He won’t be quite the rim protector that Gobert is, but I do think he could be more versatile defending the perimeter.”
In this game, Gobert had only six points but collared 20 rebounds and five blocks. His performance showed everyone, including Mobley, that you don’t have to score to impact the game. As a big man, one of his top priorities should be defense, dirty work, and intimidating opponents. That’s what Gobert did, which proved to be the game-changer for Utah.
Mobley has more upside than Gobert, but if he wants to become great in the league, he should note how the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year uses his size and presence to help the team win.