Jazz Confidence Wanes, Restored Late In 4th Quarter

Dec 13, 2019, 11:58 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2019, 1:43 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Jazz were looking confident in the 3rd quarter of their 114-106 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Utah was cruising after erasing a Warriors 7-point halftime lead. The team was sharing the ball, Bojan Bogdanovic was making 3-pointers and Donovan Mitchell was using his wingspan and big-time hops to tip-in missed baskets. The Jazz were doing almost everything right.

Utah’s self-assured play was most evident with 4:35 left in the period on Bojan Bogdanovic’s made 3-pointer. Emmanuel Mudiay had driven the baseline and looked to put up a contested reverse lay-up.  Instead, Mudiay slung a pass out to Bogey for a wide-open corner 3. As soon as Mudiay saw the shot go up, he started running to the other end of the court, knowing that the Croatian Sensation was going to make it.

Bogdanovic was 8-13 from behind the arc and scored 32 points.

“Selfishly, (Bogdanovic) makes my life better,” said Mitchell who scored 28 points and dished out 4 assists. “He’s a big part of our offense. He’s confident in shooting the ball. I told him…you can go 1-27 and no one cares…just shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and that’s what he did.”

Just under 2-minutes later, all of Utah’s swagger was gone. The key play also involved Mudiay and the majority of his bench mates.

The reserve guard fouled Jordan Poole as Poole made a 3-pointer. The bad luck continued when Poole, missed a free throw and Ed Davis was called for a foul on the rebound which meant Golden State retained possession. Poole then dished to Marquese Chriss for a dunk to cut Utah’s lead to 2.

The Jazz’s momentum was stopped, thanks to the reserves. The plus/minus statistic is not perfect, but the evidence is pretty damning for each bench player.

Emmanuel Mudiay was -7,  Jeff Green was -18, and George Niang and Ed Davis were -17. Donovan Mitchell was only a +3 because he plays the most with the bench mob squad. Every other starter was +23 or above.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said there is only so much he can do with his rotations right now while Mike Conley recovers from a hamstring injury.

“I think anytime you start changing things too much, it doesn’t give a certain group of guys the opportunity to kind of find a rhythm together,” said Snyder. “I thought, the other night in Minnesota, (the bench) had a good run. Tonight, obviously, I think Golden State had a lot to do with (the bench struggling) as far as how they attacked us.”

The Jazz didn’t lose their cool heading into the final period, but they also couldn’t shake the brimming-with-confidence Warriors. Utah was able to outlast Golden State because the starters returned and Bogdanovic and Mitchell nailed back-to-back 3’s to turn a one-point deficit into a 5-point advantage.

“We were determined,” said Mitchell about Utah’s late possessions which sealed the game. “To continue to fight shows….the progress we’ve made but…it’s only been two games and at the end of the day these are games we should win. We got to go out there…and be able to do that not against (the Warriors) but against the Clippers, Lakers, Rockets and all the teams like that.”

When asked about what the Jazz can do to prevent lulls as they had at the end of the 3rd quarter, Mitchell said the team still needs to work on playing better defense since each opponent is going to make a run.

If the Jazz are going to make a run the rest of this season and into the postseason, they are going to have to figure out how the bench can be a blessing to this team and not a curse.

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Jazz Confidence Wanes, Restored Late In 4th Quarter