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‘We’ve clearly got stuff to work on’: Jazz hope they can regroup and find a path back to enjoying basketball

Inconsistency — if anything, that’s the Jazz’s identity this season.

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Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (23), Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45), Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) and Utah Jazz guard Denzel Valentine (15) walk off the floor.

Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (23), Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45), Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) and Utah Jazz guard Denzel Valentine (15) walk off the floor as the Utah Jazz fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Cavs won 111-91.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz know that something isn’t quite right with the team right now.

“We’ve clearly got some stuff to work on,” Joe Ingles said after the Jazz’s 116-111 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. “There was possessions were we were communicating and talking, scrambling and it felt good out there. And then there was other possessions that were the complete opposite of that.”

Inconsistency — if anything, that’s the Jazz’s identity this season.

If you’re a Jazz fan, you’ve heard the same things after nearly every game. The Jazz lose focus, they either come out strong and then their intensity wanes as the game progresses, or they come out soft and don’t start to fight until they’re backed into a corner.

The Jazz will have one game where the defense looks bad and then the next game the defense will be fine but the offense will collapse.

The Jazz have lost six of the last seven games. This season the Jazz have lost to six of the seven worst teams in the league and they have yet to register a signature win against one of the top-tier teams in the league.

To put it frankly, the Jazz have been very mediocre through the 2021-22 season.

“Clearly there are things we need to figure out and get better at,” Ingles reiterated before noting that this is not a time for the Jazz to panic or sulk. “I don’t think it’s a time to go inwards and be frustrated. Everyone’s got to obviously look at themselves, but we’ve got to figure this out together and with our coaching staff and the players.”

The Jazz have gone through slumps and rough patches but this one feels like it’s weighing on the team heavier than any other stretch over the last three seasons. The body language is different, and the Jazz don’t seem to have concrete answers on how to fix what’s happening, or even what to fix for that matter.

In the past the Jazz have felt like they’ve been really good at identifying problems in short order and being able to adjust and move on. But the problems this season have started to wear on the players and they’re noticing that they aren’t really finding solace on the basketball court.

“I feel like those guys were having more fun than we did,” Rudy Gobert said of the Houston Rockets. “Yes, there’s games that we’re supposed to win, obviously, but I think we’ve got to enjoy the game, we’ve got to enjoy our job, enjoy what we do, enjoy playing with one another.”

“I don’t think it’s a time to go inwards and be frustrated. Everyone’s got to obviously look at themselves, but we’ve got to figure this out together and with our coaching staff and the players.” — Jazz forward Joe Ingles

Easier said than done, of course.

The Jazz find themselves in the haze of a slump right now and it’s hard to be happy and have fun on the court when there are so many schematic breakdowns that are happening and so many off nights and inconsistent performances

“The enjoyment part is hard at the moment with the frustration of how we’ve been playing,” Ingles said.

Though things seem bleak right now, the Jazz are not yet ready to say that they are concerned or that panic has set it. They are banking on the fact that this Jazz team has shown flashes of what it is capable of and that they players just have to push through this rough patch before emerging on the other side to something brighter and more enjoyable.

The next test is Friday against the Detroit Pistons.