Joe Ingles has been on a mission this season. Following his career high outburst of 20 points against the Memphis Grizzlies last month, Jingles went a notch further and scored 21 points today, in the 99-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Coming into this game, the Utah Jazz had suffered a rash of untimely injuries to their core rotation, which included forwards Gordon Hayward (finger), Derrick Favors (knee), along with guards George Hill (sprained toe) and Rodney Hood (hamstring strain).
With four of their five starters out of action, various Jazz reserves were named for the start. Joe Johnson was opted to start at the small forward position over Ingles, but ended the game with only 13 points (4 of 12 shots, 2 of 6 from 3PT), 3 rebounds and a steal.
Ingles in comparison, made the most of his time on the court. Opening his night with a drive to the hoop, he ended up making 7 of his 13 shots, shot 55.6% from downtown (5 of 9 from 3PT), and also recorded 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals, recording the highest +/- rating in the embattled Utah team at +11 (box score).
The swingman was at his offensive best tonight, firing shots with little hesitation from the perimeter and earned the highest offensive rating in the entire Jazz team this game. The spate of injuries to the Jazz has given him the opportunity to perform, and Jingles has made the most of his time, showing aggressiveness that has been sorely missing from the pass-first Ingles.
"The opportunity was there with a few guys out, to get some minutes and obviously making the first couple makes the game a lot easier. [My] teammates did a good job of getting me some good looks early," Ingles commented in the postgame locker room interview (video).
The Warriors opened the game with a relentless 29-5 run, closing the first quarter with 35 points. The Jazz made a hard push in the second half, but were never quite able to take the game back. The team's situation obviously did not help, and Ingles was realistic about expectations for this game.
"[We] played a lot harder I think, where we got into them a little bit, just tried to compete really," Ingles said. "It's a tough game. We had a day to prepare and got back out there. Just the guys competing and like I said, just the guys trying to leave it all out there and get the best result we can."
Fellow Aussie Dante Exum was named as starting guard in this game, but had a very quiet night. Despite having multiple chances at very makeable shots, Exum shot 1 of 11 from the field, missed all five of his three-point attempts and had five rebounds, four personal fouls in 36 minutes of action. His only make of the night was a layup in the second quarter, with the assist coming from Boris Diaw.