OKLAHOMA CITY — Once again turnovers were a major problem for the Utah Jazz in a big loss to Oklahoma City Thursday night.
After finishing with 22 turnovers a day earlier in a win at Houston, the Jazz made 18 miscues, which gave them little chance of staying with the quicker Thunder team.
“We sit here and say it every night — we’ve got to not turn it over,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “I don’t think it is necessarily us being careless. Sometimes it is that and those are situations that absolutely need to be eliminated. Then there’s other situations where they making plays. If you turn it over against a team like this, they’ll convert at the other end and you’re not going to win.”
The Jazz, who have averaged 16.3 turnovers over the last 12 games, had 12 in the first half when the game was pretty much decided, including five by point guard Shelvin Mack.
“They’re a good team first and foremost and then we turned the ball over too much which is something I’ve talked about before,” said Gordon Hayward. “That’s exactly what we did and they ran away with it.”
BACK-TO-BACK: One of the toughest things in the NBA is playing back-to-back games — games on consecutive nights, which doesn’t happen in college games except in preseason and postseason conference tournaments.
But the Jazz are one of the NBA’s best when it comes to back-to-back games, Thursday night’s blowout loss notwithstanding.
This year the Jazz are an impressive 10-7 on the second night of a back-to-back, a much better percentage than their overall record.
“Maybe youth would be the thing I would point to,” said Snyder. “We’re also a resilient group. When we lose the first of a back-to-back, we’re resilient enough to bounce back and focus. Those two things, I guess you’d say both are because of youth.”
The NBA tried to cut back on back-to-back games this year. Five teams have 20 back-to-backs this season, and Utah is close to the most with 18. The two teams with the fewest are Phoenix and Minnesota with just 14.
HAYWARD PART OF NBA CAMPAIGN: Hayward is among a group of NBA players and coaches involved in the second season of the successful Lean In Together public awareness campaign, which emphasizes how men can support the women in their lives and the benefits to everyone — starting with men themselves — when they do.
“It’s a mutual thing with the league and it’s a good message from the league, and being a new father and having a new family it’s something I felt strongly about and wanted to take part,” said Hayward. I think it’s really important. People, whether we like it or not, look up to us and look at the things we do and we have a responsibility to be good role models and it’s part of our jobs.”
The campaign is in partnership with the NBA, WNBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Others besides Hayward involved in the campaign are Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.
JAZZ NOTES: Next up for the Jazz are the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night in Minneapolis. … The Jazz finished the season 0-4 against OKC and lost by a combined 54 points. … Former Jazzman Enes Kanter finished with 16 points after scoring just three points through three quarters. He made all six of his field goals in the fourth quarter. … Another former Jazzman, Randy Foye, who joined the Thunder at the All-Star break after three years in Denver, scored four points in 22 minutes. … Nazr Mohammed, who was drafted by the Jazz back in 1998 but never played for the team, made his fourth appearance for the Thunder since joining the team in February, scoring two points in four minutes.