Three is the magic number.

Yes, it is.

The Utah Jazz capped off their three-game preseason schedule Thursday night with their third win — and they did it with the 3-ball.

A lot of them.

The Jazz drained 24 triples in all to beat the L.A. Clippers 125-105 at Staples Center. And while preseason wins and losses don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, this win over Kawhi Leonard and company was a glimpse into how the Jazz want to play this season.

“Coach has been stressing that to us since we were in the Bubble,” guard Jordan Clarkson said after scoring 20 points (15 of them from behind the arc). “We were just coming into this preseason trying to find an identity and emphasizing that on the offensive end. Those shots are good for us.”

For context: the Jazz averaged 35 attempts from long distance per game last season. They hoisted 31 attempts in the first half on Thursday.

In the end, the Jazz connected on 46.2 percent of their 52 attempts from long range.

“It’s a mindset for one,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “… They need to take them. It’s been something we’ve tried and we want to do. We feel like, if they’re catch-and-shoot, even if they’re early in the clock they can take them.”

But Snyder emphasized the Jazz still want to get their looks in the paint (“3s are good but the rim is better”) and said “not all 3s are created equal.”

“We don’t want to shoot them for the sake of shooting them,” he said.

Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic had 20 points in Thursday’s exhibition, but credited the team’s defense with allowing the offensive showcase.

“That’s the style we want to play,” he said. “But alos these shots come from our good defense. If we guard and play the way we played tonight, we’re going to be able to shoot a lot of 3s early in our offense.”

Donovan Mitchell had 15 points and 8 assists on the night. Rudy Gobert provided 12 points and 8 boards.

The Clippers were led by 16 points and 5 assists from forward Paul George.

Monday’s Best


Royce O’Neale made his preseason debut on Thursday night after missing the first two games because of the NBA’s medical protocol. O’Neale had watched from the sidelines and liked what he saw in back-to-back wins over the Phoenix Suns.

“We have a very competitive group,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the guys sharing the ball and the amount of 3s we’re getting. … Just seeing the way everybody came out, it’s exciting.”

Maybe one thing O’Neale noticed.

“Picking up on defense will be key for us,” he said.

That’s where the Jazz’s top perimeter defender knows he can make an impact.

“I’m just ready to play basketball,” he said, “and basically just go out there and help the team out any way I can.”

Anxious to work on the team’s regular season rotations, Snyder gave O’Neale the start Thursday.

“I’m glad they’re having a chance to play,” the coach said. “I want to throw Royce right into it, give him an opportunity to find a rhythm.”

O’Neale said pregame he was feeling healthy and fit. He finished with five points, five assists and four rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

“I’ve been working hard in the offseason,” he said. “Physically, I feel good.”

Up Next

The warmup is over. The Jazz begin the regular season on Wednesday night in Portland. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT.

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