The Utah Jazz lost to the Indiana Pacers 111-100 on Thursday night. It’s true that they had to finish the game without Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles, who were all ejected from the game in the fourth quarter. But the Jazz were losing that game long before their players were tossed.
After it was all over, Mitchell said that his frustrations with the officials were compounded by the fact that the Jazz felt like they could have made a push and comeback to win the game in the final minutes, but that chance was stripped away by the referees.
Well, I don’t think the Jazz would have deserved the win even if they did mount a comeback. Thursday night was the Jazz’s worst game of the season. They played poorly in just about every area and in the end they let their tempers get the best of them. To Mitchell’s credit, he did admit that the Jazz had really messed the game up before the fourth quarter skirmish.
“I’m not going to put the fact that we lost the game on that,” he said. “We did a lot of things that we can fix. We have to rebound. There’s a lot of things we didn’t do correctly.”
A lot of things, indeed.
The Jazz were slow to get back in transition, again, left known shooters open, passed up open shots of their own, committed fouls rather than defend, Indiana was given a straight line drive to the basket without any resistance, and the Jazz failed to find players to box out and let the Pacers get every rebound they wanted.
“There were breakdowns in a lot of different areas,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said, sounding exasperated. “It’s hard to identify any one thing. … They were able to get in the paint against us, put pressure on the rim and that wasn’t just our guards, that was breakdowns in a lot of different areas.”
Malcolm Brogdon scored 18 of his game-high 30 points either at the rim or at the free-throw line. Six-foot-one T.J. McConnell had five offensive rebounds, while the Jazz had seven. Every single Pacers player who played on Thursday night scored, and that’s because every single Jazz player was guilty of playing poor defensively.
“We got hit in the face with this game,” Mitchell said. “I think they had as many offensive rebounds as we had defensive rebounds. We were doing so many things not the right way.”
The Jazz fell to 8-4 on the season, and their next game is not going to make things any easier. When the Miami Heat and Jazz take to the floor on Saturday afternoon, both teams will have all the motivation they need for a win.
While the Jazz have lost three of the last four games, the Heat, after beating the Jazz on Nov. 6, have lost three in a row to Western Conference foes — the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mitchell says that the Jazz can fix the things that went wrong on Thursday, but they’re also some of the same things that went wrong when the Jazz lost to the Heat, and the Orlando Magic the following night.
No matter, the Jazz have to fix things fast, because the 3 p.m. Saturday tipoff is fast approaching.