UTAH JAZZ

Blame To Spare As Jazz Collapse In San Antonio

Mar 11, 2022, 10:30 PM
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell hangs his head (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell hangs his head (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz saw yet another double-digit lead disappear in the blink of an eye as they fell to the San Antonio Spurs 104-102 on the road.

The Jazz led by 15 with just over 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter but watched the lead disappear in the blink of an eye as the Spurs Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl scored 26 points in the final period.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 24 points, but it ultimately wasn’t enough as they dropped to 41-25 on the season.

Plenty Of Blame To Go Around

Looking up and down the roster, there isn’t a player who escapes blame for another disastrously bad loss in San Antonio.

Mitchell was by far the Jazz’s best player leading the team in scoring and assists. However, he managed only six points after the half and shot just 3-9 from the floor while committing four turnovers in the final two periods.

“I don’t really place any blame anywhere else,” Mitchell said, “As a leader of this team, I shouldn’t have let this happen.”

Despite Mitchell taking ownership of the loss, he was far from the only player to contribute to the breakdown.

Rudy Gobert scored 13 points, but attempted just three shots all night and committed three turnovers of his own.

Danuel House Jr. had a few bright spots for the team, most notably a strong first quarter and a big three late in the fourth quarter, but also fouled Lonnie Walker on a three-point attempt in the final minutes that gave the Spurs the lead.

Royce O’Neale shot 2-8 from the floor and gave up an enormous offensive rebound to the Spurs Keldon Johnson in the final minute off a missed free-throw that essentially iced the game.

Mike Conley’s struggles continued as the guard shot just 2-14 from the floor, one of the least efficient nights of his time with the Jazz while committing three turnovers.

“Some are rattling out, some are being contested at the rim,” Conley said of his recent shooting struggles. “Just getting unlucky here and there.”

Trent Forrest shot 2-6 from the floor for four points while turning the ball over once in nine minutes.

Rudy Gay scored nine points on 3-8 shooting but managed just one rebound in 13 minutes on the floor, the same number as little-used Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

Alexander-Walker saw six first half minutes, and outside of the lone rebound, failed to record a stat as the Jazz were outscored by six with him on the floor.

Quin Snyder meanwhile hasn’t found the right buttons to push with this talented roster to avoid these repeated collapses.

“There were times when we fouled when we were a little bit undisciplined and that gave them a chance to get to the line,” Snyder said of the team’s issues down the stretch. “A free throw rebound, those are daggers as they say.”

As a team, the Jazz turned the ball over 17 times, fouled the Spurs 26 times, and sent San Antonio to the free-throw line 43 times.

It wasn’t all bad from the Jazz, however.

Jordan Clarkson was the Jazz’s second-leading scorer with 17 points including a spark in the second half and had one of his more complete games in the last few weeks.

Hassan Whiteside likely deserves the least blame of anyone on the team as he recorded a 13 point, 10 rebound double-double in just 16 minutes on the floor.

Ultimately, the Jazz needed just one of Mitchell, Gobert, O’Neale, House Jr., Conley, Gay, Forrest, or Alexander-Walker to step up and make an additional play during the game to avoid letting another double-digit lead wash away, and they couldn’t do it.

“We’re just going to have to sit and look ourselves in the mirror and just say look, what are we going to be — one through 15,” Mitchell said. “It’s tough you know, it hurts.”

Jazz Now Turn Attention To Sacramento

After tonight’s game, the Jazz now turn their attention to the Sacramento Kings on a tough back-to-back.

While the Jazz face a quick turnaround, the Kings have had an unusual two days off before road games in Denver and Utah to prepare for Saturday’s game.

Though the Jazz won the first three matchups of the series so far this season, this will be a dramatically different Kings team than the one they saw early in the season.

The Jazz played the Kings three times in a matter of a month between October 22 and November 20 to open the year, which by itself is a long enough gap to assume Sacramento would be a dramatically different team than the one they faced before Thanksgiving.

In addition to the time between games, the Kings dramatically shook up their roster at the trade deadline sending Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson, and Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb.

The Jazz have gone winless against Sabonis’s Pacers team this year, including a 42 point, 18-22 shooting performance on January 8 in Indiana.

The Kings represent the final matchup in a three-game stretch against non-playoff opponents. After hosting Sacramento, seven of the Jazz’s next nine games are against likely playoff teams.

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Blame To Spare As Jazz Collapse In San Antonio