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Analysis: Depleted Jazz don’t have enough to get past lengthy Cavaliers

SHARE Analysis: Depleted Jazz don’t have enough to get past lengthy Cavaliers
Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale and Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen reach for the ball.

Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (23) and Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) battle for the ball as the Utah Jazz and the Cleveland Cavaliers play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The shorthanded Utah Jazz lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-91 at Vivint Arena on Wednesday.

Here’s the thing: The Jazz didn’t have anyone even near a center on Wednesday night. They were without Rudy Gobert, Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gay, Udoka Azubuike, and even had to play without their 10-day hardship player Norvel Pelle. The Jazz were going up against the tallest team in the league. This was set up to be a hard one from the outset. So let’s look at the bad things and finish tonight’s instant analysis on a high note.

Flat notes

  • The Jazz dropped a fourth consecutive game for their first four-game losing streak since before COVID-19 was a part of the everyday vernacular. The last four-game skid for the Jazz came in February 2020.
  • While the Jazz will eventually get players back from the league’s health and safety protocols, the losses that they rack up during this time could end up really hurting them in the standings. They’re going to need to come back really strong after this is all over.

Low notes

  • Joe Ingles, in his first game back after missing four in the health and safety protocols, was issued two technical fouls before the midway point of the second quarter. He got the first one for getting a little chippy with Jarret Allen, then he got the second one when he was yelling at the officials after a no-call for Bojan Bogdanovic. The Jazz only had 10 healthy players to start the night and that included Zylan Cheatham, who was just signed to a 10-day contract today. Ingles needs to be smarter to not ruffle feathers when the Jazz are playing shorthanded. The Jazz only had nine guys through the rest of the game, and Ingles had been their tallest player.
    “We got hung up in some individual confrontations with referees that I thought distracted us. Regardless of whether the call is right or wrong, we can’t have that in a game like this because your margin for error is so small.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • Even though the Jazz were playing without much of a front court, the defense of the players that were on the floor was lacking. Again, the perimeter defense had some issues.

High notes

  • Eric Paschall was tasked with a lot on Wednesday, as he has been for a few games now, and he was one of the lone bright spots in the game. He used his strength to his advantage even when he was overmatched in height. He made strong moves on the inside, fought for rebounds and played without fouling. Though it seems that Quin Snyder still prefers Gay ahead of Paschall on the depth chart, Paschall has made it pretty evident that he is capable and that if needed, the Jazz have depth at that position and they can count on him to be ready.
    “He was playing early in the season, preseason, first few games of the season was in the rotation and then Rudy (Gay) comes back and he kind of just falls out of the rotation. At these moments, he’s a pro. He’s been in the league and you see his impact. He’s playing with energy, you see him getting stops defensively, rebounding and making shots. He plays super hard and I think he’s been super great with what’s been going on and I’m happy for him.” — Jordan Clarkson
  • The Jazz had some stagnant moments and they didn’t shoot the ball great, but they did play with effort, beyond the point when it was clear the game was out of reach. That’s a good sign.
  • The Jazz have a unique three days off after this one and it gives them a good chance to get some guys back from the health and safety protocols and be fresh for some tough upcoming games.