Our Utah Jazz came out flat tonight and could never close the gap. The game was close for the first two and a half quarters, but after the halfway mark of the 3rd quarter, the Jazz just collapsed. The Lakers would outscore Utah 31-18 in Q3, and despite a late push, the Jazz never really threatened in the 4th quarter.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 53 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals, and 5 blocks (all by AD). Despite Donovan’s efficient 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, nobody else on the Jazz could really get going, and the game slipped away in the 2nd half.
Rational Reaction #1: Joe Ingles needs to be more aggressive
Joe Ingles took just two field goal attempts all game. Yes, you read that right. The last time he took two shots or fewer was February 2, 2019 - almost 9 months ago. With Bojan sidelined due to injury, and Conley struggling to find his shot (more on this later), Donovan needed some help from Joe and didn’t really get any. Jazz fans were hoping that gun-shy Joe Ingles was a thing of the past. Maybe starting opposite LeBron instead of coming off the bench tonight threw off his rhythm.
Utah needs Ingles to get back to his trash-talking, in-your-face, dad-bod god swagger that we all know and love. And when he’s open, he’s got to launch it from distance without hesitation.
Rational Reaction #2: The Jazz need to take better care of the basketball
22 turnovers is WAY too many. The Lakers were running in transition all night long, and the Jazz kept throwing the ball away on offense. Utah shot a better percentage from the floor and from 3-point range, but their 22 turnovers (the Lakers had just 14) killed them all night.
Turnovers were an issue for this team last year, and tonight they were bitten by the turnover bug yet again. It was an ugly, sloppy game offensively for this Utah squad, who sorely missed Bogdanovic and his scoring and shooting tonight.
Seven different Jazz players had at least 2 turnovers tonight. That’s not great.
Overreaction #1: The Jazz need to fix their defensive rebounding if they want to maintain a top 5 defense
The Lakers grabbed 11 offensive rebounds tonight and out-hustled the Jazz over and over again. 2nd chance points are back breaking plays, and Utah seemed uninterested in boxing out or securing defensive rebounds, instead running out for a transition opportunity that wasn’t there ,,, because the Lakers were collecting the offensive board and going back up for layups.
Rudy Gobert is a monstrous human in the paint, but he can’t do the defensive rebounding by himself, especially now that Favors is in New Orleans. Guards and wings need to crash the boards hard and make sure the defensive possession is finished with a defensive board. Getting out in transition is great, but not if it means you’re giving up 11 offensive rebounds and tons of 2nd chance opportunities to a dangerous team.
Overreaction #2: Deron Williams’ curse on the Utah Jazz point guard position continues, and will likely never end because the basketball gods hate Utah
Through 2 games this season, Conley is a combined 4 of 27 from the field (14.8%). That is less than ideal, especially when Utah’s 3rd scoring option is injured. Donovan Mitchell needs help, and this season he was supposed to have it. Tonight, he didn’t. This looked like one of last year’s games, when it was Donovan Mitchell against the world.
Mitchell can’t maintain that level of usage for an entire season. Someone is going to have to step up and make plays on nights like tonight. Utah was expecting that Conley could be one of those guys, but so far this season he’s underperformed. Hopefully Bojan returns soon, because it appears Utah’s offense is completely broken without him.
Under-reaction #1: Rudy Gobert’s offensive production will come (eventually)
In the first two games, Rudy hasn’t really been able to get going offensively, failing to reach double digit scoring in either game. Patience, Jazz fans. The lobs (and points) will come as the new players get more comfortable in Quin’s scheme, and when Utah’s 3-point shots start falling.
Gobert is too dominant a player to be scoring 7 points a night and giving up offensive rebounds to this Lakers squad. Expect a 20/20 game from him within the next week as he takes out his anger and frustration on the rim and whatever poor sap has to -guard him- be posturized by him.
Gobert will once again eat freaking with humans. Have faith.
Fear not, Jazz fans. This team will bounce back tomorrow and put on a show for the home crowd. Prediction: Conley finds his shot, Donovan scores 40, and Utah wins by double digits at home.