How does a good NBA team respond to a losing streak? Jazz think they have the right approach
After the Jazz dropped their third straight game Tuesday night, the mood in the locker room was how to improve, not self pity
When the Utah Jazz lost a third straight game on Tuesday, a 118-111 loss to the New York Knicks, the players went back to the locker room.
There’s usually a few minutes after a game when the team is in the locker room alone and the coaching staff are meeting in a different office. The head coach will then go into the locker room and address the team before heading into an interview room to talk to reporters.
On Tuesday, during those few minutes of alone time in the locker room, the Jazz were not quiet. They weren’t beating themselves up or hanging their heads and they certainly weren’t sulking or trying to avoid blame.
The players were lively and talking about what they should have done better. They were thinking about the next step, the next game and pointing out areas where they know they can improve.
“It’s really about the response in the locker room from the team,” Mike Conley said when asked how a good team responds to a losing streak. “Is the spirit low or high? Are you thinking about next steps of how to improve, get better? We got in here and everybody is already talking about what we need to do, X, Y, Z, and that’s what the good teams do — they try to figure it out, even right there on the spot. Not waiting for coach not waiting for the next day or the next game.”
It’s that team-oriented and forward-looking approach that all the players appreciate about one another and it makes coming to work enjoyable, even when they are in the midst of their first losing streak.
And although the Jazz know that they have things they need to clean up and they recognize that they are still a new team that needs time to really find its footing, they don’t want to overreact to anything.
“You can’t reinvent the wheel,” Kelly Olynyk said. “You have to keep playing. You’re gonna have ups and downs in a game, in a season, in a quarter, whatever it is. You can’t overreact to things and you don’t want to underreact either. You’re never as good as people tell you and never as bad people tell you. You’re always somewhere in the middle. ... For us, it’s about just sticking to what we do well, what we know and getting better at those things every single day.”
It sounds like a simple approach, but it’s the one that is probably best for a group that is legitimately still trying to get to know one another. It’s easy to forget that Olynyk, who joined the team the day before training camp opened, has been with the Jazz for less than two months, or that Will Hardy has been an NBA head coach for 16 games.
“We understand there’s some things we’ve got to clean up but, you know, you’re gonna hit spells like this,” Conley said. “We’re gonna play good teams and are gonna lose tough games. It’s about how we respond from there.”
The Jazz will have another crack at it all Friday when the Phoenix Suns visit Vivint Arena. Then the Jazz head out on the road for games Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers and Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.