CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Utah Jazz were beat by the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, and while there were a lot of things to point to as reasons that the Jazz lost (transition defense, missed open layups, bad shots, turnovers), one of the biggest reasons was allowing the Hornets to feast on second-chance opportunities.
The Hornets pulled down 16 offensive rebounds and scored 18 second-chance points in a game the Jazz lost by just six points (107-101). The math is pretty simple: Don’t allow the Hornets to score so much from offensive rebounds and the Jazz win.
Good position and fighting for boards are things that the Jazz are going to have to do if they want to win in the playoffs (and that’s assuming that they get a playoff spot, which isn’t fully guaranteed at this point). So let’s look at some of the more egregious mishaps on the boards from Friday night.
First, there’s this one from the first possession of the second quarter.
Rudy Gobert leaves Montrezl Harrell to help on the diving P.J. Washington, and he does a great job altering the shot. But Rudy Gay gets caught in no man’s land and doesn’t prevent Harrell from popping in for the offensive board and score.
Gay just has to be more aware of what’s happening and who is behind him once Gobert moves in to help protect the rim.
This next one at first looks like it’s going to be a really good possession for the Jazz because Juancho Hernangomez defends Washington well, and then after Washington kicks out to Miles Bridges, Hernangomez absolutely pushes Washington all the way out of the paint to keep him from rebounding the ball.
But the problem comes from the weak side, where Jordan Clarkson loses Cody Martin. Admittedly the fact that Hernangomez was pushing Washington into the area did not make things any easier, but when Clarkson loses Martin it leads to a wide open dunk for Bridges.
In the above video we have just a really classic case of ball watching that ends about as badly as it could. The Jazz have five players on the floor and Donovan Mitchell is the only one that is touching his man for the box out. All four other players turn and watch the ball instead of knowing where any Hornets players are, and the Hornets get the long rebound.
To make it worse, there’s no one contesting Bridges’ second 3-point attempt, so he gets a wide open look that goes down.
There were plenty of times on Friday in which Gobert should have fought harder for rebounds and he knew it.
“I think that’s the game, it gave them life and it gave them confidence to shoot again,” Gobert said. “I can’t let that happen.”
On this one he just stopped paying attention to Mason Plumlee, who got a rebound with Gobert putting up almost no fight, and that wasn’t the end of this possession. Plumlee got a second offensive board before LaMelo Ball hit a 3.
And in this one Ball tips a rebound so Kelly Oubre is able to get into the mix and then goes up for a shot and draws a foul. Gobert should be able to outrebound and outfight Ball for a rebound. He just has to be stronger.
I could point out the problems in all of the offensive boards from Friday, but I think that I’ve gotten the point across here.
The Jazz have to do better on the boards. They have eight games left before the playoffs and they need to perform well in those and then they can’t just lose guys and ball watch in the postseason. They have to clean these things up if they have any chance of winning anything.