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What the Utah Jazz need to improve on in Game 4 against the LA Clippers

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Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale, left, exchanges words with center Rudy Gobert.

Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale, left, exchanges words with center Rudy Gobert during the second half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

There wasn’t any one thing that was the downfall of the Utah Jazz in their Game 3 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Rather, it was a the culmination of a lot of small mistakes and a little bit of bad luck.

Donovan Mitchell was the first to admit on Sunday that the Jazz didn’t match the Clippers’ effort and intensity of Game 3. That’s where you can start if you’re looking for answers for why the Jazz lost.

“They were comfortable in a lot of their actions,” Mitchell said. “They came out on a level that we just weren’t at. They raised their level and we’ve got to be able to match that.”

The Clippers sensed that they were the aggressors and as such, they gained confidence early on.

  • Paul George shot 50% from the field including going 6 of 10 from 3 point range and Reggie Jackson went 6 of 8 overall and 5 of 6 from deep. Some of those shots were contested by the Jazz and the Clippers were just in rhythm, but some of them weren’t defended well.
  • The Clippers again threw another defensive look at the Jazz, doubling Mitchell in a variety of ways, and to his credit, most of the time he was able to get off the ball and pass out of the double team. But the Jazz missed a lot of the shots that were generated out of Mitchell’s passes, whether they were open 3s or drives to the rim.

  • And there were a few instances when Mitchell drove into three defenders and took an ill-advised shot in the lane.
  • There were missed defensive rotations, poorly spaced plays, and a lack of effort that was made worse by the inability to capitalize on the few defensive stops the Jazz did get.

“When we don’t communicate as well, when we’re not as focused, as sharp on all the little things, they did a great job taking advantage of that,” Rudy Gobert said.

  • More than anything, there were momentum shifting sequences that seemed to take the wind out of the Jazz’s sails, and the Clippers were not willing to lose a third game in a row, so when they saw an opportunity, the made the Jazz pay.

“At the end of the first quarter, we had an open look that we passed up,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “We missed a little floater and then, which could have given us the lead and then had a breakdown offensively, I thought that that was deflating.”

That sequence, which saw a missed shot from Joe Ingles, only to be followed by the Jazz sleepily letting Patrick Beverley get to the basket was one of many that the Jazz never seemed to recover from.

  • The Jazz had a bad night in turning the ball over and sometimes were too slow in making reads and decisions. The list could really go on. The point is that the Jazz never really took control of any part or portion of the game and all their mistakes added up to a loss.

“We had some crucial mistakes that we can’t have against a team as good as the Clippers are,” Snyder said.

So, the mission for Game 4 is to tighten and clean things up across the board. The Jazz, who lead the series 2-1, have a chance to right the ship on Monday.