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Analysis: Jazz fail to close quarters well in 1-point loss to Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke jumps in celebration
Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (15) reacts to the Memphis Grizzlies scoring a 3-pointer to take the lead with 5.7 seconds left in an NBA game against the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. The Jazz lost 118-119.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, 119-118, on Monday night. The Grizzlies took the lead on a late Jaren Jackson Jr. 3-pointer and the Jazz had a chance at one final shot, but didn’t get a clean enough look for Donovan Mitchell at the end.

High Notes

  • The importance of plays out of timeouts (ATO’s) is not often talked about, but there is so much value in being able to run an effective and efficient ATO and Quin Snyder is very, very, very good at it. Early in the fourth he drew up a play for Bojan Bogdanovic to get a 3-point look out of the timeout and Bogdanovic hit the shot. He had already been playing a really well-balanced game to that point, but getting a good look early in the fourth in a tight game is great for Bogdanovic. Later in the game, two huge 3s from Bogdanovic were crucial in the final moments of the game. The ATO not only gives some quick points on a well-run play, but it also could have been just the thing Bogdanovic needed to keep his rhythm down the stretch. Everything in basketball is so connected and compounds from one moment to the next and this is one of the things that really matters and should not be overlooked.
  • There’s a pretty big difference between when Mitchell falls into playing ‘my turn, your turn’ basketball and when he decides to just take over. The first is a very stagnant and slowed down, usually ineffective way of playing that has a bad trickle down effect on the rest of the team. The latter is when he just makes quick reads and big-time shots and you can tell that he’s feeling it. Honestly, even when he’s not making the shots but they are quick, wide open and well-timed shots, it’s the right play to make. It’s just about the way that he plays. It’s aggressive without being rushed. He sometimes waffles between the two, and that’s where some of his inconsistencies come from, but he had a couple of take over stretches that were key against the Grizzlies.
  • Now, when you have what Mitchell is able to do in that take-over mode, and you add to it the calming and smart play of Mike Conley, it makes for a really potent backcourt.
  • The upgrade in production that Hassan Whiteside provides for the bench, compared to recent years, has been mentioned but it’s just so important. Rudy Gobert sailed to a quiet and cool 23 points and 13 rebounds (when it’s not surprising and it’s even expected that those are the kind of stats you’ll get from a player, it’s pretty special) and Whiteside had big plays, especially in the first half, en route to his own 12 points and six rebounds.
  • This Memphis team is so much fun to watch and they have so many players that are young and exciting. Maybe the thing that I appreciate the most out of Memphis is that their players don’t expect to be bailed out by the refs, ever. It’s almost as if they don’t expect to every get a fair foul call so they just barrel through traffic with strength and determination and sprint after a shot to get back. There are certainly some lessons to be learned from a team that plays that way.
    “We don’t expect to get calls, you can’t expect it to win games. You can’t focus on that, you’ve got to play through anything ... You have to control what you can control and just get back. We’ll definitely say something if we have stuff to say, but you can’t do it mid-game.” —Jaren Jackson Jr.

Low Notes

  • I think one of the most frustrating things from the Jazz this season has been the team not being able to close quarters in any sort of consistent manner, and more often than not they’ve seemed to be really poor in closing quarters. You could easily come with a lot of basketball clichés in response to that (it’s a game of runs, make or miss league, etc., etc.) but the Jazz continue to make things hard on themselves by being so up and down. They had a lot of chances to kind of punch Memphis and end things and they didn’t and not being able to closeout runs, closeout quarters, and close out the game strong is something that is hurting the Jazz.
    “We had opportunities to push it up a little bit and we just never really got over that hump and allowed them to hang around for too long.” — Mike Conley
  • The final look from Mitchell was a bad one. The Jazz didn’t do themselves any favors in that final possession.

Flat Notes

  • Desmond Bane is so very good at basketball and he gave the Jazz and all Jazz fans fits on Monday night. He went off for 28 points in myriad ways and was the best player on the floor for much of the game. But it all comes to the great chagrin of Jazz fans who will always remember that the Jazz could have had him in the 2020 NBA draft. That seems like it’s going to be one that hurts for a while.
  • Giving up 28 points to Bane, 32 points to Ja Morant, and 26 points for Jackson Jr. is not going to make things very easy.
  • Broken record time: offensive rebounding and transition defense were problems for the Jazz.