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6 things that went wrong for the Utah Jazz during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) rips down a rebound during the Toronto Raptors versus Utah Jazz preseason NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) rips down a rebound during the Toronto Raptors versus Utah Jazz preseason NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
Steve Griffin

Although it was still just a preseason game, Tuesday night’s contest at Vivint Arena between the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors provided the Jazz a much better measuring stick to assess their progress than the preseason opener against the Perth Wildcats.

While the Jazz wound up winning 105-90 thanks to a wonky second half that saw the Raptors play their starters very little, a prevailing thought after the game was how poorly Utah performed in the second quarter when both teams’ coaches played a more normal rotation.

After leading 31-26 at the end of the first quarter, the Jazz fell apart in the second and trailed by 15 inside of two minutes remaining in the frame before Joe Ingles injected some life into the team and helped cut the lead to nine heading into intermission.

Just what went wrong for Utah, and could any of those problems be potentially long-term challenges as the season rolls on?

Here’s a breakdown of six things that the Jazz struggled with as they got down big.

Stagnant offense: While a good deal of credit should go to Toronto for playing strong defense, too often Utah didn’t do a good enough job of moving the ball or themselves. This often resulted in bad shots at the end of the clock. When those shots were missed, the Raptors could get out in transition and create easier shots on offense.

“Everything stalled out,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “I think the offense hurt our defense.”

The Jazz’s offense is predicated on good ball and player movement, and both need to be better for Utah to be successful as the season goes on.

Turnovers on bad passes: The Jazz committed a whopping eight turnovers in the second quarter Tuesday night. Again, Toronto played well defensively, but a number of the giveaways were because of bad passes.

There was one from Derrick Favors that would have resulted in a wide open Grayson Allen layup if on target. There was another from Ricky Rubio that was too high near the basket for even Rudy Gobert. Royce O’Neale threw one right to Raptors newcomer Kawhi Leonard.

Because Snyder’s system largely depends on it, Utah will certainly need to be sharper in the passing department moving forward.

Getting beat off the dribble: The Jazz’s identity is built around defense, and thus they need to be very good on that end of the floor if they want to be successful. Too many times during Tuesday’s second quarter, Utah just got beat off the dribble.

Even though Rudy Gobert or Derrick Favors was almost always patrolling the paint, this caused the Jazz defense to scramble on a number of occasions, and that usually meant Toronto got a good look.

Gobert is so dominant defensively that Utah has a larger room for error on the defensive perimeter than any other team in the NBA, but players still need to be better in one-on-one situations to alleviate some pressure on the Frenchman and limit open 3-pointers on drive-and-kicks.

Not enough defense turning into offense: While Toronto had success getting out in transition off good defensive possessions in the second quarter, the Jazz didn’t get very many opportunities to run. When they did, good things happened, such as when a Joe ingles steal at the end of the quarter started a possession that resulted in a 3-pointer from him.

It remains to be seen just how good Utah’s halfcourt offense can be, so Snyder’s squad needs as many easy buckets in transition as it can get.

Missed easy shots: Much of making or missing wide open shots is random from a statistical point of view, but it certainly didn’t help the Jazz that they missed quite a few in the second quarter Tuesday. On the plus side, Ingles, who missed a few open 3-pointers early, got going at the end of the quarter and finished with a game-high 24 points.

Donovan Mitchell struggled offensively: This is probably among the least of Snyder’s worries, but Mitchell did go 0 for 3 in the second quarter Tuesday. He finished the night with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting. There’s no question Mitchell needs to both take and make more shots for Utah to be successful.