UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Continue Defensive Struggles In Preseason Loss To Kings

Oct 14, 2019, 11:45 PM | Updated: 11:45 pm
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) battles Sacramento Kings center Dewayne Dedmon (13) for the b...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) battles Sacramento Kings center Dewayne Dedmon (13) for the ball during the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings NBA preseason basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Jazz point guard Mike Conley knew Utah needed to work on their defense before playing the Sacramento Kings in game number four of the preseason.

Conley believed the more they worked together, Utah would improve.

The Jazz may want to spend a bit more time with each other after their 128-115 defeat to the up and coming Kings.

“We’ve got to be more determined on the defensive end,” said Quin Snyder after the game. “We had spurts where we guarded, but that has to be a focus for us.”

Snyder said the Jazz gave up mid-range shots and too many offensive rebounds. They allowed that to happen way to much before halftime.

Sacramento had 37 points in the first quarter and 78 at halftime after Kings guard Buddy Hield banked in a 3-pointer. They hit 47 percent of their three-point attempts in the first half.

“A lot of it is a sense of urgency,” said Donovan Mitchell. “We just need to go out their and compete. We have guys who want to do it and you saw it in the second half.”

The Jazz did hold Sacramento to only 23 points in the 3rd period and came out strong on defense to start the 4th. But Joe Ingles then tripped Wenyen Gabriel after a scramble for the ball and was called for a flagarant foul. From that point on, the Kings controlled the rest of the game in a battle of the bench mobs.

Rudy Gobert believes the improved second half play shows that this team is already getting better on defense and that they will be better from here on out.

“We don’t want to think that we can just flip the switch and all of the sudden we’re going to be a top defensive team in the league.  We need to keep griding and getting better every game.”

Hield hit 9-17 shots for Sacramento to tally 23 points for the game while Marvin Bagley scored 22, including nailing two 3-pointers.

Mitchell led all Jazz scorers with 22 points. He was 8-15 from the field, but only 1-6 from the 3-point line. Gobert added 17 points, 6 rebounds and one blocked shot. Jeff Green and Joe Ingles each scored 12.

Snyder recognized that his team had another decent night on offense, but he had a hard time getting past his team hemmoraging so many points on offense.

“Through three quarters, I think we scored 90 points (92). So there are some good things there,” Snyder stated. “But to the extent that that’s our focus right now. You know I think our focus has be be continuing to improve defensively.”

Jazz play one more preseason game against Portland on Wednesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

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