The Utah Jazz, playing without Donovan Mitchell (concussion protocol), lost to the Houston Rockets, the team with the worst record in the Western Conference, 116-111, on Wednesday night at Vivint Arena.

Flat Notes

  • The Rockets are the worst team in the West — they came into this game with just 13 wins on the season. That means that the Jazz have dropped games this season against six of the seven teams with the worst records in the league (Orlando, Detroit, Indiana, Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio). I’ve given the Jazz the benefit of the doubt in a lot of these games, and they were playing without Mitchell on Wednesday, but at some point a trend is not an anomaly. The Jazz should have been able to beat the Rockets, even without Mitchell. The Jazz should have been able to keep the Rockets from shooting the lights out at Vivint. The Jazz should be able to beat bad teams.
  • The Jazz now have lost six of the last seven games. Granted, all of those losses have come with some number of players out because of COVID-19 or injury, but a lot of them have been winnable games. This is the worst stretch the Jazz have had in quite a while.

“Defensively we had the ability to really guard this team — and we have before — but we didn’t execute. Every game has been a little bit different, and you try to take something from every game. I kind of maintain the same overall thought that I want us to be at our best at the right time, and we’re clearly not at our best right now.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • If you allow a team to take 45 3-pointers and you give them a lot of room and then you still  leave them open after they’ve been hitting open 3s and they have confidence, as the Jazz did with the Rockets, they are going to punish you.

Low Notes

  • There were a few possessions near the end of the fourth quarter, as the Jazz were trying to climb back toward a win, when they played absolutely beautiful defense. Where was that throughout the rest of the game? The biggest problem with this team this season has been consistency and we’re at the point now where it’s not just an excuse in certain situations or certain games.
  • The Jazz are certainly in a rough patch right now, but all of the problems they seem to be plagued by are problems that have been bubbling under the surface throughout the season. They’ve talked time and time again about needing to respond and be better and knowing that they haven’t shown their true selves. The talk can only take them so far and the good will that they’ve built with the fan base is wearing thin.

“We go into every game, I think, very well game planned and prepared and obviously the coaches spend a lot of time figuring out what exactly they want to do and what can work. And for a lot of the time, or parts of the game, not not just tonight, for whatever reason, we’ve been good in patches, but obviously bad in patches too. I mean, we’ve got to do it for 48 minutes. It’s obviously shown recently that we’re not going to walk in and just win any game just by showing up.” — Joe Ingles

  • Udoka Azubuike got some extra run with Hassan Whiteside still in the league’s health and safety protocol and though he had some fun highlight blocks in the first half, he also had a bunch of 3-second violations. Those mistakes show that he’s still figuring out the NBA game. 

High Notes

  • This was probably the most engaged Joe Ingles has looked all season. That might seem like a big of a back-handed compliment and it kind of is. Ingles has the ability to be better than he has been this season and he showed that with how well he defended in certain situations against the Rockets and with how dialed into the offense he was.
  • Royce O’Neale grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.
  • The Rockets didn’t care that they were the worst team in the West. They didn’t care how things looked in the win/loss column or who they were up against. They never stopped going at the Jazz and that’s a mentality that Utah should be looking toward having. The Rockets worked for that win and they deserved it.