UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Loss In LA Conjures Past Playoff Nightmares

Feb 16, 2022, 11:44 PM

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defends Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (Photo by Katelyn Mulc...

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defends Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before, the Utah Jazz blew a huge lead against an undermanned team in Los Angeles just when it seemed like things might be turning in their favor.

After winning six straight games to open February, the Jazz fell apart in the fourth quarter against the Lakers, ultimately losing 106-101, and leaving the team with a terrible taste in their mouth heading into the All-Star break.

Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points, but LeBron James 15 fourth-quarter points and 33 overall were too much for the Jazz to handle.

Playoff Nightmare Deja Vu

Throughout the season the Jazz have referenced last season’s game six collapse against the shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers as something they couldn’t let happen again.

The Jazz season ended last year after the Clippers miraculously erased a 22 point without halftime lead and beat the Jazz 131-119 without Kawhi Leonard.

On January 17, the Jazz let the Lakers erase a nine point fourth quarter lead without Anthony Davis and ultimately lost 101-95 in LA.

On Wednesday, the Jazz let the Lakers erase a 12 point lead with 6:35 left to play in the fourth quarter, once again playing without Davis.

“We had plenty of chances to make plays to win,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “But we put ourselves in that position, it can’t be that easy to give up 13 points.”

Despite the goodwill the Jazz had built up opening the month with a blemish-free record, the team once again looked helpless against a small ball opponent, even when its own superstar was nearly impossible to stop.

Just as he did against the Clippers last season, Mitchell dominated the opposing defense scoring 37 points on 13-24 shooting and 5-11 from the three-point line.

However, the rest of the Jazz starters were nowhere to be seen on the offensive end as Mike Conley, Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert combined for just 36 points on 13-32 shooting.

Conley and Gobert had a particularly brutal game combining to shoot just 4-12 from the floor as the Jazz were outscored by 25 and 27 with the two players in the game.

“There’s no way we should have lost this game in my opinion,” Mitchell said. “Credit to them, give credit where credit’s due but we let this game slip.”

O’Neale had a strong third quarter scoring 10 points to help push the Jazz lead to double-digits but committed a series of inexcusable unforced turnovers in the fourth quarter which led to easy Lakers points.

With Davis lost to an ankle injury midway through the second quarter, the Lakers had to play James at the center, and the Jazz never figured out to combat it.

Gobert regularly got pulled out of the paint late in the game which sent the Jazz perimeter defenders scrambling to find Lakers players cutting to the basket or stationed at the three-point line.

Russell Westbrook scored nine fourth quarter points playing off James, while Austin Reaves knocked down a clutch three in the final minute as the Jazz defense left him wide open above the arc.

The Jazz are in a better spot now than they were in mid-January, but Wednesday night’s loss was a stark reminder of just how quickly the tides can turn on the team.

“This is an unfortunate way to go into the All-Star break because it’s a game I think we felt good about,” Snyder said. “We felt good about the way we were playing, and then we didn’t and we lost the game.”

Heading Into The All-Star Break

The Jazz now have a week and a half to recover from their loss to the Lakers and turn their attention to the second half of the season.

Snyder discussed how difficult the season has been for the team since the new year.

“Having gone through what was a pretty demanding January and of finding some things in that, the break is a timely one,” Snyder said. “It can take a lot out of your team to go through some of the challenges that we went through.”

The Jazz won just four of their 16 games in January before answering with six straight victories to open February before falling in LA.

But rather than have this team focused on carrying over their play to open the month into the second half of the season, Snyder said that can disrupt the purpose of the time away.

“You’re always going to All-Star break with an idea of what you want to do coming out, and you’re just thinking a lot about it — try to shut that down a little bit, because that doesn’t really help you get refreshed,” Snyder warned.

As for the risk of losing that momentum during the break, the coach doesn’t think it will be an issue.

“I’m not worried about if we’re playing well coming back and kind of losing that,” Snyder said, “I don’t see that being the case.”

Snyder, who is a notoriously diligent worker, also plans to use the break to get some much-needed R&R.

“I sleep right,” the coach joked. “Honestly, for me, being around my family and my kids, that as much as anything reminds you this is a game. Basketball is what we do and we love it and we’re grateful, but it doesn’t love you back.”

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz Brooklyn Nets Lauri Markkanen Knicks...

Ben Anderson

Strong Jazz Effort Falls Short Against Magic

The Utah Jazz played one of their better games since the trade deadline but came up short against the Orlando Magic.

11 hours ago

Keyonte-George-Utah-Jazz-NBA...

Ben Anderson

Jalen Suggs Late Threes Push Magic Past Jazz

The Utah Jazz pushed the Orlando Magic but ultimately came up short, falling on the road 115-107 to drop their second straight.

11 hours ago

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson drives against Gary Harris of the Orlando Magic....

Chandler Holt

Jordan Clarkson Leaves Magic Defense Guessing With Dribble Moves

Jordan Clarkson made multiple highlights with his handle in the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday.

12 hours ago

Keyonte George dunk...

Chandler Holt

Jazz Rookie Keyonte George Throws Down Transition Alley-Oop Dunk

Keyonte George showed off his hops in the third quarter against the Orlando Magic as he rose up for an alley-oop dunk.

12 hours ago

John Collins #20 of the Utah Jazz...

Chandler Holt

John Collins Leads Jazz In Slow First Half Against Orlando Magic

John Collins was the only Utah Jazz player to reach double figures in the first half against the Orlando Magic on Thursday.

13 hours ago

Taylor Hendricks Utah Jazz NBA Keyonte George Rookies...

Chandler Holt

Rookie Connection: Taylor Hendricks Block Leads To Keyonte George Corner Three

Jazz rookies Keyonte George and Taylor Hendricks showed that they can get it down on both ends of the floor against the Orlando Magic.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Jazz Loss In LA Conjures Past Playoff Nightmares