Jazz Overcome Close Game Woes With Win Over Washington

Mar 30, 2019, 2:09 PM | Updated: 2:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With Friday’s win over the Wizards, the Utah Jazz have won their fourth-straight game and nine of their last 10. But it wasn’t easy. After surrendering a 15-point third quarter lead, the Jazz trailed by three points with just under three minutes to go. But they dug deep and gutted out a close win – something they haven’t experienced much (at all, actually) this season.

Entering Friday’s game, the Jazz were 0-6 in games decided by three points or less, technically, they still are, thanks to a pair of Donovan Mitchell free throws to give the Jazz a four-point lead in the final seconds of the game. Two of those losses came earlier this month, March 4th against the Pelicans, and March 21st against the Hawks.

While no coach wants to lose a double-digit lead, overcoming the obstacle showed the resilience this team possesses.

“To be in a close game, to be down with three minutes left and for us to win the game – there’s something good about that,” said Head Coach Quin Snyder.

The win shows progress that some of the players have seen over the last few years, instead of backing down from adversity, they faced it head on.

“Tonight was a game that three years ago, maybe we lose,” said Rudy Gobert.

With the playoffs looming, close games are expected, that experience can’t be replicated in practice, so facing it in a game is fuel the Jazz can use in a playoff series.

“This time of year, there are gonna be close games coming,” said Kyle Korver. “For us to have some in game decisions to make, shots to make, plays to make, it’s probably good for us.”

Not all of the Jazz roster was aware of the team’s struggles in close games, when asked about the 0-6 record, Ricky Rubio cracked some jokes.

“Have we struggled in close games?” asked Rubio. 

After an explanation, he joked, “It’s cause when we win, we do such a good job, we do it by more than three points.”

“Tonight was a good game for us,” he added. “It was a four-point game, so I guess it doesn’t count as a close game, maybe Donovan should miss some free throws.”

Coach Snyder is pleased with the resulting win, there is some concern of complacency from the team.

“There were some situations that were good for us to experience, but I wasn’t happy with how we handled all of them.”

The Jazz don’t return to action until Monday when they host the Charlotte Hornets, so with two days off, they’ll catch on some much needed rest this weekend.

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Jazz Overcome Close Game Woes With Win Over Washington