UTAH JAZZ

Don’t Count Out Resilient Jazz Before Must-Win Game Six

Jun 17, 2021, 2:17 PM | Updated: 2:18 pm
Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Bojan Bogdanovic of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty ...
Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Bojan Bogdanovic of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz have found themselves in unfamiliar territory heading into game six against the Los Angeles Clippers, facing a must-win game for the first time his season.

But while sitting on the brink of elimination may be new, answering the bell when it seemed they were ready to collapse has been the calling card of the team all year.

Even before the season started the Jazz faced an uphill climb, needing to prove Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert could work out their off-the-floor issues and regain their All-Star form. The Jazz proved that was possible when both players signed near-max contracts in the offseason to remain in Utah together long term.

“You can’t help but feel positive about our group,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Even when you’re faced with a situation like we have coming off a loss and heading into a game six that’s win or go home.”

The team opened the season with a 4-4 record, a far cry from what was expected during an off-season when the Jazz re-signed Jordan Clarkson and brought Derrick Favors back into the fold. But after losing their first two home games of the season, the Jazz rattled off 24 straight wins at home

The Jazz also had to prove that Mike Conley could regain his high-level form after a disappointing first season in Utah. Not only did Conley return to his Memphis likeness, he improved, earning his first All-Star nod 13 years into his career.

Just as they are now, the Jazz survived injuries to Conley and Mitchell, relying on the team’s role players to carry them key victories.

The Jazz’s ability to get back off the mat consistency throughout the season is the reason they finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA, and why it’s too soon to count them out now.

“It’s something that guys have responded to,” Snyder said. “Obviously, these games are different and they’re playoff games, but I really believe in the character of our team and our ability to rally around adversity.”

Now, heading back to Los Angeles, having lost three games in a row for the first time all season, with the Clippers methodically dissecting Jazz execution, that character will be put its toughest test Friday night.

“I feel good, and feel confident that we will head down there and do everything we can do to bring the series back here.”

The Jazz and Clippers tip-0ff in a must-win game six on Friday at 8 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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Don’t Count Out Resilient Jazz Before Must-Win Game Six