After blowout loss to Celtics, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert talked about the Jazz’s issues and what it will take to fix them
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert believe in the Jazz and have confidence that they can turn things around. Will that be enough?
BOSTON — It would have been really easy for the dual faces of the Utah Jazz franchise to make excuses forthe 28-point loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. But Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell made absolutely no excuse for the way the team played.
“Instead of coming together, we got disconnected,” Gobert said.
“We got our (butt) kicked,” Mitchell said.
Both players echoed some of head coach Quin Snyder’s thoughts on the game and pointed to abysmal ball movement, lack of communication and focus on defense, lack of precision and execution and a failure to match the energy and intensity of the team they were up against.
Neither Mitchell or Gobert mentioned the fact that Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House Jr. were sidelined with injuries and nobody pointed a finger at the lack of help from Eric Paschall, Rudy Gay and Trent Forrest or at Jordan Clarkson letting his emotions and frustration get the best of him.
Instead, both of the Jazz’s All-Stars were broader with their criticisms of the team and more philosophical. They made it very clear that they still both believe in this team and that they are confident that things can still turn around, despite there only being nine games left in the regular season.
When it comes to what Mitchell and Gobert believe and their confidence in the Jazz, it doesn’t really matter whether that faith in the team is misplaced or whether this team can actually come together to make noise in the playoffs. What matters is that they care so much that after a loss to the Celtics in the regular season they are frustrated and angry and still professing their belief in the Jazz.
If they didn’t believe in this group the Jazz would have much bigger problems to address.
But they do need to address some of the more broad and overarching problems that Mitchell and Gobert pointed to on Wednesday night.
“It starts with, are we willing to sacrifice for for each other?” Gobert said. “I think we are going to get there ... We’re going to have to do things for each other. When you watch every championship team it’s not just about having talent, it’s about having guys that are willing to do things for each other.”
Both players also specifically mentioned that when things get harder for the Jazz — when defenses are more concentrated at taking away the Jazz’s actions, when shots aren’t falling, when players are missing, when the team is facing any type of adversity — the Jazz have to find a way to be more focussed and play with more precision, more intention, more will.
“We just didn’t match their energy level, we deserved to get beat at that point,” Mitchell said of the 125-97 loss to the Celtics. “The biggest thing for us is execution. When teams make it harder, we have to think. When teams are pushing us out to half court, find ways to counter that. Shots may or may not go in, but our defense can’t be predicated on our offense.”
Both Gobert and Mitchell were upset with the loss on Wednesday night. They’ve been asked multiple times this season why they haven’t been able to find consistency and why they haven’t been able to string together multiple games of efficient play that has felt good. They don’t have the answers.
What they’re hoping is that losses like the one against the Celtics and ones against other teams that have felt similar this season, against the types of defensive systems that they’re going to see in the postseason is going to make them better, that they’ll be able to learn from it even though there isn’t much time left in the regular season.
“Adversity has made us better in the past and I think it’ll make us better again,” Gobert said. “It’s just it’s just one loss, it’s not the end of the world. But I think we need to understand the way we are losing and is control the things that we can control.”