Quin Snyder Sends Message To Bench In Jazz Fifth Straight Win

Dec 21, 2019, 7:07 PM | Updated: 10:54 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Quin Snyder sent a message to the Utah Jazz bench in a 114-107 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. After another troubling first half that saw the bench turn a 26-20 lead with 3:31 left in the first quarter to a 43-37 deficit with 7:59 left in the second quarter, Snyder decided to make an aggressive change to his second unit. 

The Story

In the second half, Ed Davis, the Jazz second unit center never subbed into the game, replaced instead by third-year center Tony Bradley in the rotation. That wasn’t Snyder’s only alteration. Instead of subbing the starters out at the six-minute mark of the third quarter, Snyder kept his starters, minus Donovan Mitchell, in the game until the 2:29 mark of the period, and it paid dividends. 

By the time the bench came in, the Jazz had trimmed the Hornets 12 point lead down to five and kept the game close enough for the Jazz to win their fifth straight game in the fourth quarter. 

Snyder went beyond changing his rotation to get his message across. After a Joe Ingles turnover with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter, Snyder picked up his second technical foul and was ejected for just the second time in his Jazz career, and the first time since March 5, 2018. 

The Jazz went on a 15-10 run after Snyder’s ejection to secure the win. 

The bench for the Jazz has struggled throughout most of the season, and even more so with Mike Conley sidelined with a hamstring injury. Conley has missed seven of the last eight games for the Jazz. 

At the half, the Jazz were outscored by 12 points with Georges Niang and Davis on the floor, and were outscored by 14 in Georges Niang’s 7:20 first-half minutes. The Jazz bench, excluding Emmanuel Mudiay’s minutes, played a total of 23:57 in the first half. 

In the second half, the non-Mudiay bench players saw just 12:05 minutes on the floor. Every Jazz starter played at least 35 minutes, led by Joe Ingles 38:52.  

The Game 

The Jazz started the game well thanks to a brilliant first quarter by Rudy Gobert. In just over nine first-quarter minutes, Gobert recorded an 11 point 10 rebound double-double. Gobert was 5-6 from the floor, making the only Jazz free-throw of the quarter, and added a blocked shot. The two-time reigning defensive player of the year finished the game with 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, for his 21st double-double of the season. 

As has been the case far too often this season, the Jazz bench quickly gave up a lead built by the starters, allowing an 18 point swing that saw the Hornets lead by 12. 

Mudiay was the lone bench player who didn’t see a reduction in his second-half minutes and turned in one of his most important performances of the season. The fifth-year guard finished the game with 12 points and three assists in 21 total minutes. Mudiay is 8-16 from three over his last seven games, including 2-4 from deep in Charlotte. 

The Jazz were 17-34 from three as a team, led by Bojan Bogdanovic and Ingles who knocked down four each. 

“If you’re open, just shoot it,” Mudiay said of the Jazz hot shooting, “ I think early on we were just trying to not step on each other’s toes.”

The game changed in the Jazz favor in the second half with a more committed approach to passing the ball. 

“We showed them a couple of clips at half time, guys that we felt were open in the corners,” Snyder said, “We have an unselfish team, we just have to be unselfish and be aware of where the defense is and where the open shooters are.” 

The Jazz recorded 15 second-half assists and knocked down nine of their 17 three’s over the final 19:12 of the game. 

Having to assume the role of point guard against the Hornets, Mitchell was unable to recreate the fourth quarter scoring brilliance he’d displayed over the previous two games against Atlanta and Orlando. Instead, Bogdanovic stepped up for the Jazz, leading the team with seven fourth-quarter points.

“I’ve never seen a guy whenever he gets it everyone on the bench tells him to shoot,” Snyder said of Bogdanovic, “When the game is close he’s at his best.” 

The Jazz once again lost the turnover battle, finishing the night with 21 giveaways compared to just 14 for the Hornets. Charlotte scored 15 fast break points for the game but recorded just four after halftime. 

When asked what went wrong for the Jazz as Charlotte was able to build a double-digit lead, Gobert pointed to his team’s inability to control the ball. 

“We felt like we weren’t playing the way we wanted to play,” Gobert said, “We turned the ball over a lot.”

Mitchell recorded a season-high nine assists while adding 20 points. 

“I think Don is really unselfish,” Snyder said of his third-year guard, “When you’re as offensively gifted as Donovan is and you’re also asked to play the point, you have to find a balance, and I think he’s doing a really good job.”

The Big Picture

Who plays for the Jazz bench will be the big question heading into the final game of this three-game road trip. The Jazz play in Miami Monday night before having two days off over the Christmas break. 

Despite replacing Davis at center in the second half, Bradley committed four fouls in just 2:54 minutes, including two on the offensive end that led to turnovers. Bradley’s only other stat was a defensive rebound. 

Snyder may be able to extend the minutes of his starters until Conley returns, but would risk further injury for a roster that struggles once it’s pushed beyond the top nine players in the rotation. 

The Jazz have won five straight games, all of which came against sub .500 competition, with three of the five coming on the road. However, outside of short stretches, the Jazz have yet to truly take over games for a full 48 minutes. 

“As much as it feels good,” Mitchell said of the win, “We’ve got to be able to lock in at the start. We can’t let teams that we should beat hang around.”

After a 4-8 start to the season away from home, the Jazz have a chance to even their road record with a victory in Miami. 

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