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Analysis: Offense breaks down in Jazz’s loss to Lakers

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Ringo H.W. Chiu, Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots against Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James shoots over Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic

LOS ANGELES — The Utah Jazz were beat by the Los Angeles Lakers, 101-95, on Monday night at Crypto.com Arena. The Jazz’s offense struggled through most of the night and never really found any prolonged traction.

After losing four straight, it seemed like the Jazz had turned things around a little bit on Sunday night with a win against the Denver Nuggets, but the Jazz continue to struggle with consistency and on Monday the Jazz fell to 1-5 over the last six games.
“We made it harder on ourselves, I think, than it needed to be as far as making better reads and moving the ball quicker, generating some better shots.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

High Notes

  • It was nice to see the vote of confidence that Bojan Bogdanovic got from Quin Snyder, tasking him with guarding LeBron James to start the game. Bogdanovic has fared well against James in the past and usually does a good job of holding his own against those bigger type of players. Actually he did pretty well on James, who seemed to get a lot of his points on mismatches.
  • Mike Conley was probably the Jazz’s best offensive player on Monday, but that’s just because he was his usual self. It’s hard to really look at guys doing their basic moves and call it high notes but here we are. 
  • Joe Ingles had a good shooting night for the first time since Dec. 27. He finished the game 3-of-6 from 3-point range after going into the night just 1-of-17 over his last four games.

Low Notes

The Jazz’s offense is a lot smarter than they showed against the Lakers on Monday night. In the first half it seemed like Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay were having a personal contest for who could take more ill-advised shots that were either contested or off balance. Everything was turning into a one-on-one battle that wasn’t really benefiting anyone. Bogdanovic didn’t have a single field goal until the fourth quarter, Donovan Mitchell was just 3-of-8 for six points at halftime, and not a single Jazz player had broken into double-digits through the first 24 minutes. In the second half, the Jazz missed a ton of open looks, passed up some open ones and failed to find open guys, instead opting for drives into traffic that usually didn’t end well. There was a stretch in the third quarter where the Jazz gained the lead and they were moving the ball a little better, but it wasn’t the norm throughout the game.
“It got stagnant tonight, it definitely did ... I don’t really have an answer for why it got stagnant. It’s just kind of a feel thing. And you know, you’d like to say we’re halfway through (the season), we should have a feel by now but there’s times like this where you’ve got to go through it ... I think shot selection, driving, spacing finding guys — a lot of that plays into it.” — Mitchell

  • This was not Clarkson’s best game, in fact, far from it. On both sides of the ball he struggled and his minutes were detrimental to any kind of momentum the Jazz were trying to create. It wasn’t made any better by the fact that on at least two of his drives, when he actually kicked the ball out to the perimeter, Ingles caught the pass and then dished off to someone else, passing up wide open shots.

Flat Notes

  • The Jazz were on the second night of a back-to-back set, which sometimes could be used as an excuse, but they didn’t look tired, they just looked like they were doing the wrong thing. They actually looked like they were trying, just trying really hard in the wrong ways.
  • The Jazz’s transition defense was atrocious. The Lakers scored 19 fast break points compared to the Jazz’s eight points.
  • Stanley Johnson started to get into rhythm and was clearly the guy with the hot hand in fourth quarter and the Jazz did little to nothing to cut that off. It kind of feels like that might be a trend for the Jazz. When there is an opposing player who is really starting to go off, it’s almost like they give him a little bit of a runway. There doesn’t really seem to be a concerted effort to stop the guy that’s burning them the most in the moment. Now I understand that the Lakers have other players that require attention and the Jazz can’t just turn all of their eyes to Johnson, but the guy had 10 of his 15 points in the fourth during a run that put the game away. That should have been when the Jazz were the most locked in and it turned out to be when the Jazz let up.