It really is a credit to Rudy. I know how competitive he is and I know he wanted to be in, but also your ability to put the team in front of yourself, and he did that. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Synder
SALT LAKE CITY — With 6:23 remaining Monday night at Vivint Arena and the Utah Jazz trailing the San Antonio Spurs 85-79 but making a run, Derrick Favors checked into the game for Rudy Gobert.
Given that Gobert is the Jazz’s typical closer at center, logic dictated that Favors would play a few minutes before giving way to the Frenchman for the end.
Technically that happened, as Gobert checked in on the last possession with 16.7 seconds remaining, although Favors stayed in for much longer than previously anticipated after Gobert decided along with head coach Quin Snyder to have him keep playing.
In all, Favors scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and added a block and a steal in that six-minute stretch as Utah turned the deficit into a 101-99 lead before the Spurs’ failed final possession.
“It really is a credit to Rudy,” Snyder said. "I know how competitive he is and I know he wanted to be in, but also your ability to put the team in front of yourself, and he did that...everybody is in those situations at various times, and if you can do the difficult thing and try to put the team ahead of yourself, everybody is better for it, but it’s hard to do and Rudy did it tonight.”
For the night, Favors finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and the steal, while Gobert added 10 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists.
“There was great communication between me and Quin,” Gobert said. “He just asked me, ‘Do you want to come in or do you want to let Fav play?’ I just said, ‘I want to let Fav play.’ He was playing great and we were rolling.”
The way Gobert saw it, he was just doing what he’s seen teammates do on previous occasions when needed.
“I think that’s one of the biggest strengths of our team. We put the team before ourselves,” Gobert said. “When everyone does that, it makes the group know how to be and tonight that’s what we did.”
Favors’ overall performance, and especially his play down the stretch, was the continuation of a strong stretch for him personally. Over the course of the Jazz’s now 10-game win streak, the Georgia Tech product has finished in double figures scoring seven times and has averaged 8.5 rebounds.
“We never doubted,” Gobert said. “We have some tough moments but we kept fighting and playing and we got the win.”