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The Downbeat #1798 - No Optimism

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

If you're looking for a dose of optimism, you won't find it here. Last night's meltdown to the terrible Pelicans, was inexcusable. The Jazz dropped a 7 point lead and gave up midway through the 4th quarter. Lazy defense. No energy. No effort.

The crowd was abysmal, but the players gave them little to cheer for, as they let the Pelicans hang around way too long. The 3rd quarter saw the Jazz put the Pelicans on the ropes, and they did what they have done so many times this season... they quit doing the things that got them the momentum. Without Rudy, this team lacks not only a defensive presence in the paint, but the intensity and aggression that winning teams have.

Coach Q seemed to agree, based on his postgame comments:

First, from Aaron Falk (SL Trib):

"Our team didn't play well," said Snyder, who declined to assess the new-look unit. "As a group, this is not about a starting lineup or a go-to guy or a match-up situation. This is about our group as a whole needing to compete more at the right times and make plays."

This could be the first real adversity that Q has had to face, in his tenure. Whether he and Lindsey agree or not, the expectations for this team has changed. The players need to accept it to. They started it when they stated that the playoffs was their goal. Now it's time for them to show they want to meet expectations and achieve their stated goal.

Because the Suns also lost, the Jazz are still in 9th place in the playoff standings. They are 3 games back of Dallas for the 5th seed, but have also played 2 fewer games. If you really want to feel bad, the Jazz are now a half game back of the Nuggets, who are terrible. Luckily, they see them tomorrow.

The Jazz are only in this good of a position because the bottom 2/3 of the West has been terrible this year. The good news is that (as has been stated just about everywhere) the Jazz have had one of the toughest schedules. The bad news is that they aren't going to have many more of these weeks with 2-3 days of rest between games.

One of the ways to light a fire under this team might be to hit the trade market. Will they? Probably not. But it seems apparent that the Jazz can use some help at PG and there is a steep drop-off from Favors in the big rotation.

The Jazz will likely try to weather the storm until Rudy returns, but they are clearly missing Danté just as much. Here is a list of PG's going off on the Jazz:

It's not all doom and gloom. If you're into the big EVE Winterfest, New Year's celebration, you can get a free ticket to watch Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum go off on the Jazz, if you buy the three day pass:

Utah Jazz to Participate in EVE Winterfest