NEW ORLEANS — The Utah Jazz were completely blown out by the New Orleans Pelicans 124-90 on Friday at the Smoothie King Center.
Where do I begin?
The Jazz were so bad that there’s really no reason to mention any “high notes.” On top of all the Jazz’s mistakes and lackluster play, it was also a poor shooting night. Just all around not great. So, I guess we should just get into the bad stuff.
- The Pelicans pulled ahead at the 9:39 mark of the first quarter and never looked back. You couldn’t help but watch what the Jazz were doing and think that they were going to break out of their funk, or that they would come away from the first quarter and play differently, or that they would come out of halftime with a different sense of urgency, or that they would try to make a comeback at any point in the second half. But the Jazz did none of that and the Pelicans’ lead just kept growing, and growing, and growing.
“I can’t say that we had it as a group. I can’t say we did. Whether we were tired or fatigued or it was mentally or whatever it may be, we’ve got to find ways overcome that.” — Donovan Mitchell
- The Jazz’s 90 points were their lowest scoring performance since Dec. 9, 2019, against the Oklahoma City Thunder when they lost 104-90. The Jazz have had 18 losses in franchise history that rank worse than the 34-point loss on Friday (as far as point differential is concerned).
- The Jazz seemed resistant to taking open layups, instead insisting on kicking out even when the easier shot was the one right in front of them. But then when they kicked out to 3-point shooters, they hesitated or dribbled into traffic rather than taking the open 3. Then they were missing the midrange shots they actually were taking even when they were in rhythm. If you’re driving and kicking but then never taking the open shots the defense can just sit in the paint and contest jumpers and hit the glass and it doesn’t really make things that hard for the defense.
- At some point the Jazz started trying to draw fouls and get some easy points at the free-throw line, but when they didn’t get calls they were further frustrated and when they got to the free-throw line they missed quite a few. The Jazz shot just 34.8% overall, 26.8% from 3 and 65.4% from the free-throw line.
- You might be wondering, who was the worst offender? Oh boy. Well, Jordan Clarkson was overly frustrated by compounding mistakes in the first quarter and was never really able to shake that. Donovan Mitchell was maybe the most guilty of passing up open looks at the rim and then Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic passed up open 3s. Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside both had possessions when they failed to get their hands up and contest shots and they both missed out on rebounds or were just out of position for rebounds and even when they got some offensive boards they would miss on the putback or lose the ball. Even when the end of bench players came in at the end they didn’t do a great job. Every Jazz player got minutes in this game and the only players that didn’t have turnovers were Danuel House, Juancho Hernangomez and Udoka Azubuike. The Jazz committed 21 turnovers, with Bogdanovic and Mike Conley the biggest offenders.
- The Jazz were completely out of sorts on Friday night and were bothered by the things that they are going to come up against in the playoffs and they didn’t have answers. So while I don’t think that the Jazz are going to have many games where everything looks as discombobulated as it did against the Pelicans, I think that there are things about this game that should be worrying, most notably the length and speed of New Orleans, which are traits that the teams at the top of each conference also have in spades.
“We made it tough on ourselves. I don’t think we lose by 30 every time, but it’s going to be tough, you know? And we’ve got to just make it easy for ourselves, and tonight we didn’t do that.” — Mitchell on playing against the Pelicans’ length