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When Is It Time To Hit The Panic Button On The Utah Jazz?

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In their fifth try, the Utah Jazz finally got their first home win in a 117-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Before the win, the Jazz had lost four in a row, their first home games of the season, and the defense hasn’t been up to the team’s standards of last season when it finished second in defensive efficiency.

Despite the win over a now 3-8 Dallas team on the second night of back-to-back road games – of which they were terrible last season – many fans have been asking when is the right time to panic?

The team came in with some high expectations after winning their first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City, and a defense that earned Rudy Gobert Defensive Player of the Year honors.

In their 10 games, the team’s defensive rating was 110.8, which was 18th in the league before going into Wednesday’s game against Dallas. There could be several reasons as to why the Jazz defense was slightly below average so far, but Gobert wondered if the new NBA rule changes played a factor.

“I think it impacts everyone,” Gobert said. “We want to be a physical team and we want to impact the other team’s movement. It’s a big change and it’s hard with all those screens and guards that are using that as an advantage to get fouled. It’s hard, but it’s the same for everyone so we have to adapt.”

Donovan Mitchell #45 and Jae Crowder #99 of the Utah Jazz react to their 113-92 loss in Game Three of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs to the Houston Rockets at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 4, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

Point guard Ricky Rubio acknowledged that players may want to come in and show what they worked on during the summer, but coming together and communicating as a team should be the focus.

“At the end of the day, it’s a team sport,” said Rubio. “If you want to show your own skills one-on-one, this is not the team to be on. Over here it’s five guys that talk and feel like a unit, and so far we showed some spurts, but not what we want to be.”

KSL Unrivaled host Scott Mitchell wondered if the Jazz have just become too comfortable with their successful run last year, and basically returning a full roster.

“They are like ‘Let’s see how many games we can lose this season before we actually get it together,’” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said his main concern with the Utah Jazz was their defensive toughness.

“They went counter to (the idea that offense wins),” said Mitchell. “I think the Golden State Warriors built everything off of defense and transition basketball. Everyone thinks they are an offensive basketball team, but they actually play pretty good defense.”

Mitchell wondered if the rest of the NBA got better, while the Jazz did not change their formula or personnel much.

“They went for consistency this offseason, but maybe everyone else in the league got better,” he said.

Co-host Alex Kirry said the slow season start was just about managing expectations for the team, but believed the Jazz will get their groove back.

“They are a defensive team,” Kirry said. “Everybody in the league is giving up a lot of big points.”

Kirry said 10 games into the season was not a time to panic, mainly because, “we didn’t seem to panic in December of last year.”

The Jazz play the Boston Celtics with the return of Gordon Hayward on Friday at 7:30 p.m.​