Last Wednesday night, following a blowout loss to the Celtics, Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert attempted to diagnose the team’s issues and consider how to fix them, with Gobert stressing the need to “sacrifice for each other,” while Mitchell called out the Utah’s execution and energy level. As Sarah Todd of The Deseret News relayed at the time, Gobert expressed confidence that enduring some adversity would make the team better.
One week later, it seems as though the Jazz have yet to apply those lessons and turn their adversity into something positive. Defeats at the hands of the Hornets, Mavericks, and Clippers have extended their losing streak to five games, and Tuesday’s outcome in Los Angeles was especially dispiriting. In a repeat of Game 6 of last year’s Western Conference Semifinals, Utah blew a 25-point lead en route to an improbable loss.
Asked by Todd about the similarities between last year’s game and last night’s, Mitchell expressed exasperation: “I don’t know, Sarah. I don’t know. It’s the same s–t. I mean, it feels the same way. It’s the same thing. This is literally the same thing.”
Gobert offered more specific critiques of the Jazz, suggesting to reporters that the team’s ball movement, defense, and lack of physicality are among the problems he has noticed.
“Nobody hits nobody,” Gobert said, per Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. “We don’t get our hands dirty. We never get our hands dirty. We’re a very good basketball team, but I get f— up every night, and guys are literally beating me up every night, as they should. It’s basketball, it’s a physical game. But we have to get to the point where we do that to the other team too. But teams don’t really expect that from us.
“We’re a really good basketball team, I think we have great basketball players on both ends. We just, need to figure out a way to get that mindset, to do things for each other more and do it for 48 minutes, and do it even more. And when it gets hard, we need to do it even more.”
Utah will have a good opportunity to right the ship on Thursday when the reeling Lakers – likely missing both LeBron James and Anthony Davis – come to town.
Here’s more on the Jazz:
- The good vibes that used to float around the Jazz are gone, Todd writes in an opinion piece for The Deseret News, noting that the team’s body language has been “just awful.”
- Jazz guard Trent Forrest, who left Tuesday’s game with concussion-like symptoms, has indeed been diagnosed with a concussion, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. The Jazz were determining late Tuesday night whether Forrest would be able to fly home with the team or if he’d require an overnight hospital stay. There was a bit of added concern because it’s Forrest’s second concussion, Jones explains.
- Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune explores the odds of Rudy Gobert winning his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
- Juan Hernangomez has been traded four times in the last year and hasn’t played much this season, but he has gotten the opportunity to start for the Jazz recently with Bojan Bogdanovic sidelined and has responded well, including on Tuesday when he scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. “It’s just the business,” Hernangomez said following the loss in Charlotte last Friday, according to Walden. “As a player, you’ve got to be ready, keep working on your game. I’ve been through a lot of changes — emotionally, changing all the teams, changing all my teammates, coaches, but you’re still the same player. You’ve got to keep working on your game because if you can stay ready, the NBA’s about opportunity. And when the opportunity comes, just enjoy it and do your best.”