UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Snap Losing Streak: The Good, Not So Good And Ugly

Feb 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

Donovan Mitchell - Royce O'Neale - Utah Jazz...

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – It felt like it would be another one of those nights for the Jazz.

It’s the kind of game that we’ve all seen from the Jazz during their 4-game losing streak. Utah’s players are sloppy, forcing passes inside to Rudy Gobert, trying to take guys one-on-one, turning the ball over too much and giving up easy baskets as their transition defense is atrocious.

All those things happened and Utah still ended their losing streak with a 129-119 victory over the Washington Wizards.

It helped that the Jazz played a Wizards squad that is last in the NBA with a 115.0 defensive rating. It also helped that the Jazz have good one-on-one offensive players like Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson. But the defining plays of the game may have come from Mike Conley. So let’s break down this game with The Good, The Not So Good and The Ugly.

The Good

Mike Conley was bumped just as he was elevating on a short left handed push shot with just under nine seconds left in the 3rd quarter. As he was falling to the ground, the shot went in. Conley was hot with the officials and gestured for Utah’s fans to get into the game.

Conley then found his offensive game, canning a step back jumper and a 3-pointer. The lefty ended up with 16 points and 6 assists for the night. But Coach Quin Snyder was most proud of his diving ability.

The veteran point guard hit the deck while trying to get a loose ball. He got the ball to Joe Ingles who threw it to Tony Bradley for a dunk.

“I saw him during a crucial point in the game, just sell out dive on the floor and come up with a loose ball,” said Quin Snyder. “And that to me epitomized both his game. If there’s something anyone can give to a team, if you give that, good things happened.”

Donovan Mitchell was also good, keeping his team in the game after a poor start. Mitchell also showed against why he’s an All-Star.

His step back three-pointer gave Utah a nice 9-point cushion heading into the last 3:56 of the ball game. He finished with 30-points on 9-21 shooting, and his plus/minus was a -16. But when you hit big shots, you’re always going to end up on the good side.

Tony Bradley was also good, just because he nailed his first career 3-pointer.

Joe (Ingles) told me, (actually) everyone told me to shoot it,” said Bradley. “I was like, ‘All right.’ So I took my time. It felt like I had all day. And I shot it with confidence.”

Bradley was beat on the pick-and-roll a few times in this game and is still slow afoot. But let’s not knock him down to the ‘Not So Good’ category after making the first triple of his career.

Finally, let’s add Jordan Clarkson to ‘The Good’ category. He scored 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the contest. He continually forced his way to the basket and was able to come up with buckets. Yes, he over-dribbled at times in this game, but he also scored 6 of 8 points during a key run in the 3rd quarter.  His coach also liked that that Clarkson didn’t always look to score, but made the right play.

The Not So Good

Nothing could epitomize the Jazz struggles like the start of the 1st quarter and the middle of the 4th quarter. Let’s just focus on the 1st quarter for our narrative.

Mitchell was in the corner and tried to force a pass into Rudy Gobert and the pass was poked away. He then earned himself a flagrant-1 foul by stepping under Shabazz Napier while he shot a three. On Utah’s next possession, Mitchell slung a pass into Gobert again. It lead to another turnover because Gobert was too busy getting position under the basket and the ball bounced off of his head.

Yeah, it wasn’t looking good. The Jazz had 7 turnovers in the first 6-minutes of the game and weren’t blocking the taller Wizards off of the glass.

But the reason this was not a total disaster was that Utah was able to bounce back from each set back with a scoring splurge.

“There were a few stretches that we gave some stuff up, and we fouled the 3-point shooter and gave up an offensive rebound and those things add up. But I thought we responded well, to that stretch,” said Snyder

The Ugly

Let’s just jump to ‘The Ugly.’ It’s nothing new. It’s transition defense. Not only did the Jazz give up points on turnovers, but they also gave up points to Bradley Beal and company after made baskets. Coach Snyder said the Wizards were the best transition team in the NBA. But in the grand scheme of this team, that should not matter.

They need to run to the other end of the floor after a made basket, because what they are doing not is not working.

Beal was a big factor in scoring and creating transition points for his teammates. He scored 42 points and was able to drive and dunk, pull up from 3-point land or just be a threat on the floor because he’s on the floor. It was just another night that another awesome wing burned the Jazz several times. But even Quin Snyder admitted it’s tough to slow Beal down when he’s on his game.

What’s The Deal With Bogdanovic?

Bogdanovic admitted he hasn’t been playing well and hoped to pull out of his post All-Star break slump.

It looked positive early on for Bogdanovic. He back cut to the basket and scored Utah’s first points of the game. Later, he got the ball in transition and realized he was going to miss the shot and hurried to rebound and put it in the bucket.

But Bogey also struggled to come up with winning plays during parts of the game. He looks less confident going one-on-one with certain players, still makes poor decisions off the dribble and his shot looked a little off. At one point in this game Bogdanovic was 3-10 from the field and 1-5 from behind the 3-point arc.

But Bogey finished the game with a flourish, making 4-7 shots including a couple of spot-up 3-pointers and a step back triple. He also dribbled into the paint and dished it to Gobert for a dunk. We will see if his late play eventually leads him to ‘The Good’ category.

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