UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Know Problems, Have No Solutions For Latest Blown Lead

Mar 29, 2022, 11:37 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2022, 12:10 am
Utah Jazz players look on in frustration (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz players look on in frustration (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Once is an aberration, twice is a coincidence, three might be a pattern, but losing 14 games after building double-digit leads is an identity, and that’s the reality of the Utah Jazz right now.

After leading the Los Angeles Clippers by 25 in the third quarter the Jazz dropped another unlosable game, collapsing down the stretch in a manner fans have seen too many times before.

With the loss, the Jazz ended their six-game road trip with a 1-5 record, including five straight losses as they head back to Utah.

Problems With No Solutions

Let’s be clear, there are decent excuses as to why the Jazz lost this game to the Clippers.

  • The Jazz were on the final stop of a six-game road trip.
  • The Jazz were playing their fifth game in nine days while the Clippers were playing just their third.
  • The Jazz were without Bojan Bogdanovic, Danuel House Jr., and Hassan Whiteside, while the Clippers were welcoming back Paul George.
  • The Jazz missed an unusual number of free throws, connecting on just 17-29, their second-worst performance of the season.

But truthfully, the Jazz blew an inexplicably huge lead in a game they needed to win, stringing together mistake after mistake as though they’d rehearsed it.

Here are the more important reason’s the Jazz lost this game, and they’re the same reasons they’d blown the previous 13 games with a double-digit lead.

  • The Jazz stopped passing the ball in the fourth quarter once they got a huge lead, recording just one assist in the fourth quarter.
  • The Jazz then turned the ball over at a fantastic rate because they weren’t passing, committing seven giveaways in the fourth quarter, matching the total number they had in quarters 1-3.
  • The Jazz gave up far too many offensive rebounds leading to easy second-chance points for the Clippers. LA grabbed 10 offensive rebounds including four in the final period leading to 15 second-chance points.
  • The Jazz couldn’t get stops when it mattered, allowing the Clippers to score 39 points in the fourth quarter.
  • The Jazz didn’t have any in-game accountability for these errors, which allowed the Clippers to continuously attack the same problems they knew the Jazz couldn’t, or were unwilling to fix.

After the game, Quin Snyder focused on the team’s turnovers and the lack of defensive rebounds as the keys to the loss but said he was grateful that they were happening in the regular season rather than in the playoffs.

“The good thing about this game is it’s not game six,” Snyder said. “You can just point to the two things I just talked about — just fix those two things, and that’s a question of us being focused on those areas and making them more important. When we do that, we’ll get a different result.”

Here’s the problem, the Jazz have had these same problems since they began blowing these leads early in the season, they identified them then and said they were committed to fixing them.

But that clearly hasn’t happened.

If the Jazz haven’t found the solution since the team’s first blown double-digit lead on November 7 in Orlando, why would anyone believe they’ll get fixed over the next six games before the playoffs.

Donovan Mitchell expressed dismay after the loss, though acknowledged it wasn’t a new problem for the team.

“It’s the same [expletive],” the Jazz guard said. “It feels the same way, it’s literally the same thing.”

The Jazz coaching staff and players can say they know what they need to do to fix the problem, but if that never translates to the court, it’s not a lack of execution, it’s a fatal flaw.

Simply put, this is a Jazz team that is better at losing games than winning, and they don’t have any clue how to fix it.

Snyder Maintains Health Is Top Priority

With the Mavericks crushing the Los Angeles Lakers, the Jazz fell two games back of Dallas in the race for home-court advantage. Regardless, Snyder maintained that getting healthy before the playoffs trumps any regular-season accomplishments.

“The thing that jumps out is we need to be healthy,” Snyder said. “To the extent that regular season prepares you for the playoffs, it can prepare you in different ways, but I don’t think anyone felt good about last year.”

The Jazz finished last season with the outright best record in the NBA for the first time in franchise history but were eliminated by the Clippers in the second round as Mike Conley missed the majority of the series with a strained hamstring.

“[Having an] elite level of success in the regular season — you don’t remember that, and I think our team is aware of that,” Snyder said. “I know we’re hungry, we need to be healthy. And that’s the primary thing in my mind.”

Though the Jazz face long odds of earning home-court advantage in the first round, fans shouldn’t expect the team to start strategically losing games to try to dictate their playoff opponent, at least not yet.

“We know better than to try to worry about seeding,” Snyder said. “Matchups are really important, but it’s hard, you can’t manufacture matchups.”

The Jazz are back home on Thursday against the Lakers who are expected to be without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

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Jazz Know Problems, Have No Solutions For Latest Blown Lead