LOS ANGELES — The Utah Jazz lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 106-101. It was a pretty bad loss and there were some pretty obvious things that went wrong down the stretch for them to lose a game that at one point they led by 14 points.

Even before the Jazz players spoke after the game it was intriguing to think about how they would react to the loss. Once they spoke to reporters, I thought what they said deserved looking at.

Also, I just realized that those of you at home might not know how the post-game process works for us Utah Jazz beat reporters, so I’ll explain. In the pre-COVID world, we would head into the locker room and kind of roam around and choose who to talk to while the tv cameras would focus on a team banner and the top two or three players of the game would speak in front of the cameras.

In the post-COVID world, we aren’t in the locker room and so the team asks the beat reporters who they’d like to speak to. We discuss and come to a consensus on three or four players and they come to an interview room. Tonight, we chose Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Royce O’Neale.

Analysis: LeBron James, Lakers send Jazz into All-Star break on losing note

Donovan was upset for seemingly the same reasons that everyone else watching the game were upset — the Jazz were winning this game and then it seemed like they just stopped wanting to win.

“It didn’t hurt in the second half,” Mitchell said. “The turnovers, our focus — you know, we messed up and it didn’t hurt, didn’t feel it.”

Basically, the Jazz started to let things slip and then when the Lakers started to take over the game there was no reaction or answer from the Jazz. They didn’t fuel themselves through their mistakes or try to raise their intensity.

Mitchell admitted mistakes that he made in the second half of the game and said that he wouldn’t have done the same thing in the first half and said his communication wasn’t as good in the second half as well.

When the game was on the line in the final minutes there were some missteps from O’Neale that were pretty egregious and he didn’t shoot a wide open shot that could have really changed things. So when he came into the interview room I asked him, “Without having watched the film, are there things that you know you could have done better?”

“Yeah, I had like two turnovers that maybe cost us the game,” O’Neale said. “Definitely should have shot the last shot that I had. I’ve got to be more aware of myself and take what the defense gives me and be more aggressive.”

Yes, that’s exactly right. Accountability and pretty good answers from both Mitchell and O’Neale.

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said that in pick-and-roll situations where LeBron James was playing center and O’Neale was guarding him, he would have preferred that O’Neale stay with James and the fact that Gobert got switched out on James was not what he wanted.

“We had breakdowns in the pick-and-roll,” Snyder said. “Where Rudy should not have been switched out on (James). That was an execution breakdown.”

When we asked Gobert what happened, in what was arguably his worst game of the season, he was less ready to take blame and didn’t really see a problem.

“I thought we did a pretty good job on those situations overall,” Gobert said. “What hurt us was them scoring on turnovers and there were some cuts also.”

So basically, what Gobert is saying here is that the problem is transition defense (which usually does not involve him as much as it does wing players) and wing players cutting into the paint.

But I thought the worst thing Gobert said was about how he guarded James on a particular possession.

“He had just missed one pretty badly, pretty short,” Gobert said. “So I kind of dared him to hit it.”

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LeBron James???

I don’t care how many shots James misses, saying that you are daring him to shoot over you is not a good route. That’s like basketball against LeBron James 101.

So we got some accountability from Mitchell and O’Neale who were willing to own up to their mistakes but not really from Gobert.

Here’s the thing; Gobert is very willing to accept blame and admit to his mistakes on other nights. There have been countless postgame interviews when Gobert says that he is the defensive anchor and so communication and proper rotations start with him and he is the one that has to step up and be better. But on Wednesday night (again, in his worst game of the season) Gobert seemed to dismiss the idea that he was at fault.

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