SALTSØBY – The smile was contagious.
From a room in the bowels of the Vivint Arena comes pure joy from Jarrell Brantley and permeated through all who witnessed the boyish smile that spread across his face.
“It’s amazing,” Brantley said, his bright smile widening. “These moments are amazing. Today was amazing. I do not know what tomorrow holds, but today was amazing.”
On Tuesday, the rarely used striker lived the dream that he has regularly been so close to achieving. He scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes in Utah’s 106-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jazz were without Royce O̵
“I had a feeling the way things are going on this team,” Brantley said when asked if he expected the big role on Tuesday. “But at the same time, I try to tell myself every day that I have to play, even though I know there is no shot – but just mentally prepare myself to be ready and be useful to my team. So I believe in in many ways I have been preparing for this moment since the beginning of the season. “
Regular NBA rotations are usually 8-10 players deep. For the players on the deep bench, it is difficult to get time on the field. Brantley has played in 17 games this season, but all have come to function by blowout. A few seconds here, a few minutes there – all insignificant for the result.
On Tuesday, Brantley pulled into the start of the second quarter with the Jazz down 9 points. Suddenly he had to play an important role. When he checked out, he had scored a layup, grabbed a rebound and assisted on a Donovan Mitchell 3-ball that set the Jazz up with one. Brantley had a team-high plus / minus in the first half.
“Most players have heard at one time or another, ‘Keep working, stay ready, you never know when your opportunity will present itself,’ and JB has done a great job of just doing just that. that, ”said Jazz coach Quin Snyder.
And he wanted to show his teammates that he was ready when he was on the field. When Oklahoma City shot free throws, Brantley went over to Mitchell and the two appeared to have a detailed conversation, pointing to spots on the court.
“I try to choose Don’s brain as much as I can; and honestly in these times I want them to feel comfortable understanding that I have been paying attention, ”Brantley said. “I want them to know that I know their movements and that they can trust me.”
Georges Niang, who started his first game of the season in the win, knows the happiness that Brantley felt on Tuesday. He has been in the shoes – on a two-way contract, been inactive, get little or no time – and he knows how hard it is to put all the work on and rarely sees the results.
“The child went into work and he had to go out there tonight and show it,” Niang said.
Brantley scored 8 of his 10 points in the second half and his 3-pointer with 8:46 left in the game gave the Jazz their biggest lead of the night at 25.
“I would not say we were not impressed because we know he is capable of it, but of course we were impressed to see him do it in a game,” Niang said. “But most importantly just super happy for him because I know the gate by being in two ways and getting your options and wanting to hit a grand slam, and he certainly did, so I’m glad he got out there and perform and play as well as he did. “
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