Posts



Jeremy Evans traveled 1500 miles through Utah, Wyoming and Idaho teaching basketball clinics to Jr. Jazz kids

source

Three lineups that will be a ton of fun in 2019-20

Jared Woodcox , 2019-07-13 03:28:44

Utah Jazz Mike Conley

MEMPHIS, TN – MARCH 8: Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz chat after the game on March 8, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

The new-look Utah Jazz will have the versatility to roll out several exciting and effective lineups in the 2019-20 season.

With all of the Utah Jazz’s offseason moves, there’s no questioning that they’re going to have a much different squad in 2019-20. While the team indisputably got better by undergoing a massive upgrade at the point guard spot with Mike Conley over Ricky Rubio, by adding sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic and a host of reliable bench presences, there were also some heavy losses, particularly defensively.

What I’m referring to is the departure of Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder, both of which were excellent defenders and gave Utah a length and strength that they won’t quite be able to match this upcoming season. Fortunately, the addition of Jeff Green and Ed Davis should help quite substantially to make up for that void.

But the loss of Favors does make Utah’s starting lineup somewhat unclear. Some have postulated that the Jazz could continue to start Joe Ingles at the three and have Bojan Bogdanovic fill the slot as the small-ball stretch-four. Others have hypothesized that Bogey would take over Ingles’ spot in the starting five in his more comfortable small forward position with the veteran Jeff Green starting at the four, even though he’d likely ultimately cede more minutes to Jinglin’ Joe.

There are other hypotheses as well including the likes of Royce O’Neale and Ed Davis, which we’ll touch on a little later, but the fact of the matter is that Quin Snyder has a lot of flexibility in what he can put out on the floor, be it with his starting lineup or other combinations. As such, I wanted to take a look at three in particular that I’m extremely excited about, starting with one that I’ve already mentioned and could be one of Utah’s best.



Source link

Three free agents that are unrealistic, but would be a lot of fun

Jared Woodcox , 2019-06-04 12:00:35

HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 24 : Head Coach Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz talks with the media following Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets on April 24, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Utah Jazz typically don’t and probably won’t strike it rich in free agency. But if they were able to, each of these three players would be an amazing fit.

Utah Jazz fans are all too familiar with a hard truth – big-name free agents don’t typically put Salt Lake City near the top of their preferred destinations. Although the Jazz boast an excellent core of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, top-class ownership and front office organization, and a brilliant head coach, small market Utah just doesn’t quite do it for many NBA stars.

With such being the case, the Jazz are often forced to find alternative methods of improving such as developing from within, striking gold in the draft or among undrafted players such as Royce O’Neale or Joe Ingles, or via trades. We’ve seen each of these things happen over the past few years and many have made the Jazz significantly better.

Even so, it would be nice if they were able to skip some steps and land a big-time free agent that immediately propelled them into an upper echelon in the Western Conference. Jazz fans hope that this year can be the one where their team breaks that long-time mold by landing a prolific free agent such as Kemba Walker or Tobias Harris.

Both Walker and Harris would be incredible options that would undoubtedly make the Jazz immediately better. But just imagine how nice it would be if even setting sights on those two meant the Jazz were aiming too low? What if the Jazz were actually in a position to land an undisputed marquee free agent?

Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen and I would put big money on none of the following three guys even giving the Jazz a second glance, but that aside they’re worth pursuing, and imagining how each one would fit on this Jazz roster is breath taking.

So without further ado, let’s go ahead and ignore reality for a moment and just enjoy dreaming about what it would be like if any one of these three free agent studs found himself joining the Jazz’s ranks for the 2019-20 season.



Source link

Poor first-round draw spoiled potentially fun postseason

Jared Woodcox , 2019-05-01 12:00:42

Any chances of the Utah Jazz producing a fun and memorable 2019 postseason went out the window when they got matched up against the Houston Rockets.

What I’m about to tell you won’t come as any surprise to Utah Jazz fans. But after watching the first few games of the second round of the NBA Playoffs, the harsh reality became clearer than ever. Namely, the Utah Jazz could have had themselves an entertaining postseason. Instead, by finishing in fifth place for the third straight season and this time drawing their toughest foe yet in the Houston Rockets, they were quickly bounced leaving little else but disappointment to ensue for the Utah faithful.

In neither of the previous two seasons were the Jazz expected to contend for a championship, so the mere fact of making the playoffs was an absolute delight. Not only that, but many had the Jazz pegged as a first-round exit in both the series against the LA Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Instead, Utah pulled off the upset in both matchups which resulted in a an advancement to the second round.

That thrill of winning a series and exceeding expectations made both the 2017 and 2018 postseasons feel extremely fun and entertaining. Even though the next round went exactly as projected both times – a lopsided loss to the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, respectively – just making it that far and getting to watch Jazz basketball into the month of May was riveting. And that’s a big reason why this year has felt like such a letdown.

That’s even more the case when considering that the seeding really wasn’t indicative of who the best teams in the West truly were. As exciting as Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers and Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are, in watching that Game 1 in comparison to the Game 1 between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, it was quite evident who the two best teams are, even if Houston’s seed reads 4 and the Nuggets/Blazers read 2 and 3.

As the hottest team in the NBA since the All-Star break, there’s practically no denying that the Houston Rockets at peak condition are the second best team in the West and probably the second best team in the entire league. But rather than being able to hold off facing them until the conference semis, the Jazz instead had the misfortune of drawing them in the first round. That obviously led to a quick dismissal in the first round and no chance to exceed expectations this time around.

Now, I completely recognize that the West is a slaughterhouse and the Jazz very well could have lost in the first round to just about any team. There were absolutely no slouches to be found among seeds 1 through 8. Nevertheless, had they drawn literally any team besides the Warriors or Rockets, they would have most certainly had an opportunity to compete in the first round and likely advance to exceed expectations yet again.

And after watching the bout between Denver and Portland on Monday night, if Utah had been fortunate enough to avoid Golden State or Houston for another round as the Nuggets and Blazers have, I believe it’s quite realistic to say that the Jazz could have even outdone the previous two years by winning yet another series and advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

Again, that’s far from a guarantee. Considering Utah’s inconsistent nature this whole season, it’s entirely plausible that they would have fallen flat against the likes of Portland, Denver or whoever else they might have faced in this hypothetical situation. But on the flip side, it can’t be denied that the opportunity to succeed would have been there in much more prevalent fashion. Such could have never been said regarding Utah’s first-round draw against Houston.

Part of this unfortunate outcome was just bad luck for the Jazz. The Rockets only finished with the record they did because of the injuries they suffered early in the season that led to a slow start. Not only that, but there were several outcomes that looked nearly certain in the final two days of the regular season that would have permitted Utah to avoid Houston, but each of them flipped late in the contest producing the least favorable result for the Jazz.

But then again, the Jazz also have themselves to blame for the poor circumstances. They likewise got off to a putrid start to the 2018-19 season, but unlike the Rockets, they didn’t really have injuries to blame in the early going. Sure, the schedule was challenging, but there were still several inexcusable losses before the turn of the calendar year that would ultimately come back to haunt the Jazz.

Had Utah better taken care of business ever so slightly, they may have very well moved up in the standings and avoided a date with the Rockets in the first round once all was said and done. Such a result would have led to an exciting postseason for Jazz fans, even if ultimately it did little more than delay the inevitable elimination for another round or two.

But instead, the 2019 Playoffs went down as far less than memorable for the Utah faithful, especially compared with the brilliant moments that the past two years gave us. This time they ended in disappointing fashion and gave little of the exhilaration and optimism that the past two seasons provided.

Next: The Utah Jazz could find a sleeper from a familiar school in the 2019 NBA Draft

Now the Jazz are forced to look towards the offseason where it’s clear that significant upgrades will have to take place if they are to return to their successful and enjoyable postseason ways. And ideally, make it further than even the second round which has been their ceiling for 19 of the past 20 seasons.



Source link



Jae Crowder commented on his Jazz debut saying playing with new team is very fun.

✔ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2yxs3Og
✔ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: http://es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE
✔ Watch Latest Episodes on WatchESPN: http://es.pn/LatestEpisodes
✔ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: http://es.pn/YouTubeTV

Get more ESPN Shows on YouTube:
► First Take: http://es.pn/FirstTakeonYouTube
► SC6 with Michael & Jemele: http://es.pn/SC6onYouTube
► SportsCenter with SVP: http://es/pn/SVPonYouTube

ESPN on Social Media:
► Follow on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/espn
► Like on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/espn
► Follow on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/espn

Visit NBA on ESPN on YouTube to get up-to-the-minute NBA coverage, scores, highlights and commentary.

More on ESPN.com: http://www.espn.com

source

Celtics having fun again after fourth win in a row


The Boston Celtics are back to having fun again after their fourth win in a row, a 128-100 victory over the New York Knicks in the NBA on Thursday.

Kyrie Irving scored a team-high 22 points and spoke after the game about the reason for Boston’s recent success.

“I think the important thing to take [off] our shoulders early on was just how much of the fun we weren’t having. It just wasn’t fun,” Irving said, via MassLive.com. “I know certain guys would probably be fearful to talk about it, but it goes on in every NBA locker room.”

Boston have won five of their last six games and matched a season-high by moving to four games over .500 at 14-10. Irving said the Celtics have heard the criticism about the team’s slow start from around the NBA.

“I still remember certain players on other teams asking us what was going on with us when we were 10-10,” Irving said.

The Celtics have victories over the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans during their winning streak and have a chance to really go on a run with three of their next four games against teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

So over the next few games, Boston have a lot of chances to have more fun, which is exactly what Irving wants his team to do.

 

Brilliant Brown

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown made his first appearance of the year off the bench and promptly scored 21 points on seven-of-10 shooting.

Crawford crumbles

Suns guard Jamal Crawford went 0-of-seven shooting, 0 for three from three-point range and the team were minus-25 with him on the court in a 108-86 loss to the Trail Blazers.

 

Marvellous Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell seemingly does something special for the Utah Jazz every single game.

Thursday’s results

Boston Celtics 128-100 New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers 108-86 Phoenix Suns
Utah Jazz 118-91 Houston Rockets

 

Warriors at Bucks

The Bucks (16-7) demolished the Warriors (17-9) the last time these two teams played. Stephen Curry got hurt in that game, which set off a chain reaction putting the Warriors into the roughest stretch of Steve Kerr’s coaching career (by his own admission). But Curry is back from injury and looking like an MVP again. However, so is Giannis Antetokounmpo.



Source link

One Theory on Utah’s Struggles: Not Enough Fun


It is no secret that the Utah Jazz have gotten off to a slower start than many in Utah and around the league had anticipated. Beyond that, it’s more than just the 9-12 season record that have fans frustrated; it’s the way the Jazz have played.

The team has been sloppy, with 7th most turnovers in the league. Those turnovers have also resulted in the third worst mark for opponent points off turnovers at 19.1, behind only the struggling Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns.

Another concern is that the team was the best defensive team in the league last year and brought the gang back together to unlock the benefits of the much-touted “continuity,” and yet the elite defense hasn’t continued into the first 20 games. Heading into their matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, the Jazz have an almost perfect average defensive rating, at 108.3.

But why?

Analysts and pundits are scrounging for answers about the slow start and there are numerous theories, some of which hold water. Sure, the Jazz are losing games because they are playing worse defense, or are poor in getting back in transition, or are sloppy with the ball or lack three point shooting. The Jazz are only middle of the road in overall three point attempts, but are sixth best at getting wide open three point looks. However, they are second to last in three point percentage. The mind boggling part of this is that the Jazz were 12th in the league in three point percentage last season with nearly the exact same team!

Like I said, there are numerous theories but I will offer a single theory now: the Jazz are simply not having fun. The age-old chicken and egg argument could be made, of course. “The Jazz are not having fun because they are losing!”

But look at this way. The Jazz had very low expectations, at least externally, after the 19-28 low point of the 2017-18 season. No one outside of Quin Snyder, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert & Co. really thought the playoffs were realistic at that point, let alone a first-round victory. Playing without that pressure led to the Jazz playing very loose.

Winning probably does help, after all. After a close overtime game in Detroit, that the Jazz probably should have lost, they hit a turning point. They were happy to have Rudy back. Donovan was thrilling everyone. The laughs and smiles were there and the wins piled up. But that overtime win gave them a burst of excitement. “Hey, winning is fun!”

Pressure isn’t all that fun

Move to start of this season. The Jazz were one of the most talked about and hyped up teams coming into the year. Multiple writers and pundits were ready to thrust on the Jazz the mantle of being among the West’s best, outside of Golden State. Houston’s apparent drop-off and roster changes had some pegging the Jazz as high as No. 2. Mitchell was supposed to take a leap and Gobert had the pressure of maintaining his crown as the league’s premier paint defender. Rather than a push to be the best, Gobert already was the best. The point is that this changes things.

They have no chip on their shoulder, nothing to prove, and they aren’t having fun. Honestly, they haven’t looked like they’ve been overjoyed on the court at all this season, outside of a few smiles and jokes here and there. The Twitter joking that happened among the team through the summer has mostly tailed off. It’s still there, but the volume is lower. This is partially due to the busy season schedule, but there is just less outward playfulness than there was a short time ago.

In 2012, former Iowa State women’s basketball star Lindsey Wilson gave some advice to athletes. “Play for the love of the game,” Wilson said. “Play only for the love of the game.”

She goes on to compare the grind of competitive basketball with practice and training to the free and fun-loving play of kids playing driveway hoops.

“A funny thing happens when you play with a love of the game: you play better. When you focus less on results, and more on the process of playing and your love for the game. Nerves disappear, the weight of expectations falls away, and the burden of playing for a scholarship or scouts ceases to be an issue. I call it taking the backpack off. The backpack of all these unnecessary emotions and thoughts comes off and you play free and light and have more fun than you ever thought possible. Just like you played as a little kid in your driveway.”

If the Jazz can let go of the expectations and the hype and start to play free, they may be able to show a glimpse of the team they were expected to be. Until then, it seems like they may just be a shell of their former selves.

Tyler joins Salt City Hoops for the 2018-19 season, having previously written at The J-Notes. Tyler grew up in Utah watching the Stockton-to-Malone Jazz. He now lives in Brooklyn, NY and is an active tweeter at @tjcranman.


  • Utah Jazz


    November 26th, 2018

    Story of the GameThe Indiana Pacers’s 121 to 88 thumping of the Utah Jazz provided a clear profile on Utah’s…Read More


  • Utah Jazz


    November 26th, 2018

     The Salt City Seven drops every Monday throughout the regular season, with seven regular features meant to relive the week…Read More


  • Utah Jazz


    November 7th, 2018

    Once again, the Utah Jazz are off to a shaky start. Just as they did last season, the 2018-19 Jazz have started the year with a…Read More


  • Utah Jazz


    November 5th, 2018

    Story of the GameLast season, the Utah Jazz came to believe that their defense was stout enough to keep them in nearly any game,…Read More



Source link

The NBA's Christmas Day slate, ranked in order of fun


The matchups for the NBA’s annual Christmas Day slate of games were leaked on Tuesday, and the schedule includes familiar names like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, as well as some fresh Yuletide faces like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Donovan Mitchell. We figured we’d rank the games from worst to first (or frankincense to gold, if you prefer), so you can schedule your holiday travel accordingly.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will try to swat away the upstart Knicks on Christmas Day. (AP)

5. Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks

What could possibly be more exciting than a matchup between Brook Lopez and Enes Kanter on Christmas? Forget hanging stockings from the mantle or leaving presents under the tree. Give your kids the gift of Malcolm Brogdon vs. Tim Hardaway Jr. on the biggest NBA day of the regular season.

Hey, at least there’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is worth the price of admission on his own and a leading MVP candidate. And the game should take place before fans from the biggest media market lose all hope on their team making the playoffs for the first time since 2013. But the matchup will likely not feature Kristaps Porzingis, the other freakish talent who is still recovering from his February ACL tear and would have made a Christmas meeting with Antetokounmpo much more interesting.

C’mon, NBA, you couldn’t have hooked hoop fans up with a marquee matchup between, say, DeMar DeRozan’s San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard’s Toronto Raptors. Canada celebrates Christmas, too.

4. Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Anyone who might argue that San Antonio and Toronto just don’t have the mass appeal to qualify for the Christmas slate more interesting should explain to me how Utah does. I’m not sure the casual basketball observer is going to be captivated by the advanced analytics contributions of Joe Ingles.

What this game does have is a handful of under-appreciated stars. Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell and Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum may not be household names outside NBA circles, but maybe they should be. You can sell grandma on the likability of those characters, tear your nephew away from Fortnite long enough to catch a few wildly entertaining highlights, and convince your hockey-obsessed uncle that this regular-season NBA game will be competitive throughout.

3. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors

It’s Arguably The Greatest Player Ever vs. Arguably The Greatest Team Every Part 12. Or whatever the number is now. This game is an easy sell: LeBron James will face Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Warriors with a new cast of characters. And, man, are Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley characters. LaVar Ball might be there, too. This game could get extremely weird.

If new Warrior DeMarcus Cousins is eyeing a return “around Christmas,” as ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported, this game could be more apocalyptic than the TV movie pitch in “Scrooged.” (And as long as we’re making 1980s references, Magic Johnson should be there trying to tamper with Klay Thompson, too.)

I’m not sure it’ll be all that competitive, though, so long as Golden State is engaged enough to remind LeBron he needs better reinforcements to match their starpower, but the specter is certainly there.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

These may be the best teams in the Western Conference not named the Warriors. Considering how deep the West is, that should distract your family from arguing over who drove the furthest for this.

The last two MVP winners, OKC’s Russell Westbrook and Houston’s James Harden, are pitted opposite each other. Both have complementary All-Stars — Paul George and Chris Paul, respectively — to share the load. New Rocket Carmelo Anthony will face the team that dumped him for Dennis Schröder. Even Steven Adams against Clint Capela is entertaining. Gerald Green will have a cool haircut. It’ll be fun.

Maybe we’ll even find out what nerdy gifts Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Thunder GM Sam Presti exchange over the holidays. Hi, Sam, I got you this abacus from the early 20th century that Ramanujan defeated in a math olympiad. Maybe you can use it to acquire better 3-point shooting.

Sick burn. Fire game.

Celtics forward Marcus Morris gives 76ers star Joel Embiid an update on the status of their playoff series. (AP)

1. Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia is convinced that recent lottery picks Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz comprise the NBA’s best young core, even though they shot a combined 29 percent from 3-point range (Simmons and Fultz, their future backcourt, were 0-for-12 on the season) and lost a playoff series in five games to a Celtics team that started Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. That sentence will anger Sixers fans, and angry Sixers fans make for an exciting foil under any circumstance.

Last we saw these two teams play, Embiid was talking trash and Boston’s Marcus Morris was reminding him that his team trailed the series three games to none. The 76ers will be out to prove that those three Eastern Conference semifinals games decided by 10 combined points were just flukes. The Celtics, meanwhile, will be armed with (knock on wood) a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, along with barbs about premature confetti celebrations and Bryan Colangelo’s burner account saga.

The egg nog will be spiked, Twitter will be afire, and two East Coast rivals will resume battle.

– – – – – – –

Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

More from Yahoo Sports:
• Dez Bryant reportedly not interested in joining Browns
• Pat Forde: Rally supporting Urban Meyer should shame Buckeye Nation
• Chris Mannix: With LeBron gone, Celtics and Brad Stevens ready to seize the East
• Giancarlo Stanton suffers his most embarrasing strikeout of MLB career





Source link

Gary Payton would pick Stockton and Malone, pokes fun at The Mailman


RAVELL CALL, DNEWS

FILE: Gary Payton follows John Stockton around a Karl Malone screen in a game Jan. 28, 1998.

SALT LAKE CITY — If Gary Payton had his way in an All-Star Game redo, Utah Jazz fans would find themselves in a position that never happened — or rarely did — during his career.

They’d actually cheer for The Glove — a star player Jazz fans loved to hate because of his trash-talking and rivalry with Utah back in the day.

And they’d certainly root for his teammates, one of whom Payton used to love to tease.

In an entertaining Q&A, SLAM Magazine, a popular basketball publication, asked Payton for his thoughts on the NBA’s decision to allow the top two All-Star vote-getters to select their own squads instead of pitting the Western and Eastern conference teams against each other.

For starters, the Hall of Fame point guard likes the change, which will take place during All-Star Weekend next month at Staples Center. He approves of the playground-like matchup, especially with it being in L.A.

Interestingly, Payton said he wouldn’t pick Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, the two biggest stars of his era, if he were a team captain.

“I want to play against those guys,” the former Seattle SuperSonics star said. “It makes the game better when you don’t stay with the guys that are good as you are and it’s not an even game.”

In that light, this might be a backhanded compliment, but Payton — whose son Gary Payton III played at SLCC — said he would pick Utah’s favorite pick-and-roll partners.

“But if I would’ve had an opportunity to pick my four,” he said, “I would’ve had to go with John Stockton, Karl Malone, Shaquille (O’Neal) and I’d probably try to get Allen Iverson.”

Payton also shared a funny story about a prank he used to pull on Malone during All-Star practices.

“We used to always crack on each other and that was a big thing about me. I’m going in there imitating Karl Malone,” Payton recalled. “He always used to wear jeans and cowboy boots, and when he went out there to practice, I put on his cowboy boots and his jeans; and they were big and would yell, ‘Rhinestone Cowboy.’ I used to always do that to him every time.

“I had his belt, everything, and then I put some tobacco in my mouth. We used to do all kinds of stuff, so it was real, real fun.”





Source link

When will this get fun again?


Despite another strong performance from Donovan Mitchell, late game struggles doomed the Utah Jazz as they lost a tightly contested battle 103-102 on the road against the Miami Heat.

The Utah Jazz were able to hold two of the Miami Heat’s top scorers, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson, to just 16 points each. However, the Heat’s balanced attack combined with opportunistic plays late in the game proved too much for Utah’s valiant effort.

Here are a few of my thoughts on Utah’s Sunday afternoon  battle with the Heat…

Road struggles continue

It has been 23 days since the Jazz have won a game on the road. Today’s matchup with the Heat marked Utah’s seventh straight road loss and dropped them to a combined 3-17 on the road for the season.

Utah’s last road victory came on December 15th in a 107-95 win over the Boston Celtics. Many NBA pundits claim that “defense travels”, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth for this Jazz squad.

Utah ranks as one of the league’s top defensive clubs at home, however they drop to a bottom-ten team on the defensive end when they play away from Salt Lake City.

While the Jazz played sound defense for most of Sunday’s matchup with the Heat, their intensity seemed nonexistent in the final few minutes of the game. This ultimately led to Utah’s demise.

If the Jazz want to fix their road struggles and try to get back into playoff contention in the Western Conference, they will need to figure out how to play at a top-ten level defensively on the road.

Mr. Second-half

The third quarter belonged to Donovan Mitchell. After shooting just 3-of-12 for eight points in the first half, Mitchell opened the flood gates to begin the second half. Mitchell scored Utah’s first 11 points of the quarter. Mitchell went on the finish the quarter with 13 points, including this jaw-dropping slam…

Get this man into the dunk contest.

The rookie made another strong case to be selected as an All-Star by finishing with 27 points on 12-of-25 shooting to go along with three assists.

Really though, let’s get the Spider to LA. Jazz fans, tweet “Donovan Mitchell” with #NBAvote NOW.

Mitchell’s increased role was on display on the game’s final play as coach Quin Snyder decided to put the ball in his rookie’s hands with just over five seconds left, trailing by one point. While the play design and execution was atrocious (we will get to that next), the fact that Mitchell is already becoming “THE guy” in clutch moments speaks volumes.

I personally can’t wait for that day that Mitchell hits his first game winner at the buzzer. Until then, get on Twitter and vote, Jazz fans!

This kid really is becoming something special and the NBA is starting to take note. A rookie season All-Star nod would be icing on the cake to a more than promising rookie campaign for the Louisville product.

Quin questionable late

Whether warranted or not, there has been an increased number of claims against Quin’s ability. Recent lineup decisions has led this small, yet increasing band of tweeters to question if Snyder is truly the “elite” coach that many have pegged him to be.

I for one, am still in Quin’s corner, however, Utah’s late game problems against the Heat should lie on the shoulders of their head coach.

First of all, with just over six minutes left in the game, Derrick Favors exited the game after colliding knees with a Miami player. Despite Favor’s obvious limp, Snyder elected to have the big man return to the game for the final three-plus minutes. Favors was never able to replicate his solid defensive performance from earlier in the game which proved crucial in a few of the game’s final possessions.

That wasn’t Snyder’s only mistake in the game’s final few minutes.

With just under 20 seconds remaining and the Jazz up one, Snyder elected not to call the team’s final timeout. Rodney Hood then launched up an ill-advised 30-footer that clanked off the right side of the rim. While the shot itself wasn’t terrible, I would have liked to see Quin draw up a play that got Utah a look at the rim.

Snyder’s most uncharacteristic decision came on the game’s final play. As I previously stated, Snyder elected to give his rookie a shot at icing the game with five seconds left and trailing by a score of 102-103.

I feel that the decision to go with Mitchell was the correct choice, however, the ball was inbounded  well behind mid-court. This gave Mitchell very little time to secure the ball and get off a good look.

Snyder is typically very talented at coming up with plays out of timeouts to put his players in positions to succeed. This was not one of his better moments.

Whether or not this ultimately came down to Quin’s play calling or the players’ execution, Snyder simply needed to do a better job tonight for the Jazz to steal a road win.

#SilverLining

This tweet just about summed up my thoughts on today’s game…

What’s next?

The 16-24 Jazz continue their road trip on Wednesday night against the 23-17 Washington Wizards. Washington has won seven of their last ten games and have a home record of 13-7.

Utah will have its hands full again if they want to end their current road losing streak and get back on track after a tough December and start to January. The good news is that Jazz will have two full days between their next game to fix some of their mistakes from an otherwise solid game in Miami.

Just one last reminder…

Follow me on Twitter @TylerDThorpe for more Jazz insights and analysis.





Source link