SALT LAKE CITY — For a while Thursday, a slam by a Utah Jazz player was the talk of the night, but, surprisingly, the much-ballihooed dunk wasn't made by Donovan Mitchell.
Spida stole the show later in the game, but Joe Ingles — of course — sent shockwaves around Jazzland with a rare dunk earlier in Utah's blowout win over Minnesota. His left-handed jam was set up by Raul Neto on a fast break that started when Kyle Korver tapped an errant T-Wolves pass away.
Jazz fans went berserk over Ingles' second dunk of the season and just the 19th dunk of his 392-game NBA career, tweeting out alerts and using a lot of exclamation marks while taking note of the rare sighting.
It remains to be seen if the oft-below-the-rim Ingles shows up wearing a "DUNK LIFE" T-shirt like he did after stuffing one in last spring.
Even Mitchell said he'd give Ingles credit for having the better dunk on this night.
"I'm going to give Joe it for sure — the fact that he dunked it," Mitchell said, smiling. "He said before the game he was going to dunk it, so that was impressive."
Though Mitchell took off from the corner, taking advantage of an opening on the baseline, and then athletically and artistically launched himself up, cocked his arm back and threw down a crowd-wowing dunk late in the game, he didn't think it was among his best work.
The 2018 slam dunk champ still has a ways to go to become a dunker a la Ingles, in other words. The Ringer's NBA account joked that it was "almost as impressive as the (Joe Ingles) dunk."
"I don't mean to sound, like, cocky or anything, but that wasn't that great," Mitchell said of his own dunk, which came late in the second game of a back-to-back set. "I didn't think I was going to make it. ... Just making a read and got up there. My legs were kind of heavy on that one. I'm surprised it went in, to be honest with you."
MARCH SADNESS: Jazz guard Royce O'Neale wished his alma mater, Baylor, good luck in the Big 12 Tournament on Twitter on Wednesday night before the Bears faced Iowa State in the first round.
SLC Stars/Jazz point guard Naz Mitrou-Long, who played for the Cyclones, quickly responded to that tweet with a simple "No." The team's other former Iowa State star, Georges Niang, retweeted O'Neale's tweet with three crying-laughing face emojis the morning after ISU eliminated Baylor 83-66.
O'Neale had a playful response: "THE PERSON YOU ARE TRYING TO REPLY TO IS NOT ACCEPTING TWEETS FROM CYCLONE FANS. THANK YOU AND HAVE A GREAT DAY."
GAIL'S GUY: As great as Ingles' one-handed dunk was, Mitchell was even more impressed by the pro-civility pregame speech Jazz owner Gail Miller made — to the crowd and in the locker room.
"I loved it," Mitchell said.
The second-year pro told Jazz president Steve Starks that her support was very important to him.
"It's crazy. ... In this business to have your owner be so forward and to go out there and back us the way she did and back Russell (Westbrook), back the team, that's amazing," Mitchell said. "That's the incredible thing about the NBA. As we all know, all sports aren't like that. She's been open and honest. I think that's one of the things I respect in knowing her. I respect her.
"Everything you hear about the Miller family is nothing but positive, and this is just another instance of that. It gives us confidence to come out and say what we want to say and how we want to say it. That's key when you're in the light like this."
ROAD WOES: The T-Wolves were unable to leave Denver on Wednesday because of travel delays caused by a bomb cyclone, so they didn't fly into Salt Lake City until Thursday morning. Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders called the travel delay "unexpected," but didn't want to use it as an excuse because he believes he has a team full of professionals.
"We did a walk-through as soon as we got to the hotel today. We addressed it right away that we're going to try to not talk about this moving forward, and that was it," he said. "I appreciate how they handled everything (Wednesday), and we're just going to not use this as any type of excuse."
The Jazz flew to Utah after their win in Phoenix on Wednesday night.