“How bad do we want to be a good team?”
“How bad do we want to win?”
“Are we willing to sacrifice?”
“Are we willing to do the little things?”
“When we do it, we’re f*cking really good.”
“We were awful.”
No one needs to remind the Utah Jazz nor their fans how disappointing last night was. Sure there are going to be the regular excuses—long road trip, away from their families, new system, injuries disrupted chemistry, sometimes you just don’t have it—but last night was not fun. The sign of a REALLY bad loss is when it’s not possible to point the finger at anyone or anything other than the ones who were on the floor in Jazz uniforms last night. No “poor officiating”, no “few things that just didn’t bounce the right way”, no “we gave it our best effort”, nothing. Last night had the look of a team that didn’t want to be in Toronto and wasn’t looking forward to heading to Philadelphia the next day. Unfortunately—or furtunately—that next day is today.
The Jazz look to salvage what has already been a “Coming To Jesus” type road trip tonight in Philadelphia. Utah’s only win in their past four games has come against the Memphis Grizzlies that—if we’re being honest—simply coughed up a big halftime lead because of youth and inexperience while Bojan Bogdanovic put on a cape to save the day. That will be a problem as Utah faces a Philadelphia 76er team that has only one loss in their past 8 games (vs Raptors) and it was one that went down to the wire. Even worse for Utah, Philadelphia has been resting in Philly since Saturday. They will have some fresh legs.
Utah forced themselves in a bit of a corner in tonight’s game. It’s unfair, but they’re in a bit of a Catch 22. If they play with energy and passion and still lose then it’s an indictment of their ceiling. If they come out and play like last night—while it’s understandable because of the long road trip and back to back—they look to be furthering the apathy from the night prior. They are damned if they do, damned if they don’t if they lose. Which leads them to the corner they’ve put themselves in because of the lack of effort seen in Memphis during the 1st half and Toronto for three quarters: they have to win.
While Utah has played a difficult schedule, these are teams they’d have to face in the playoffs. This team’s offseason and roster construction was put together with that in mind. If their goal is to be a championship contender—which right now that seems farcical to write—they have to stop falling back to the excuses of a playoff participant. Tough teams and schedule? Continue to draw from that well and it’s easy to know what this team is: a #5-#8 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
When: Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 • 7:00 PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, SN1
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
Is the body cold yet? Can the team be revived without being returned to home for more extensive treatment? That’s the question Jazz fans are asking. Donovan Mitchell tweeted out last night something cryptic after the game.
Please please please have the same energy... please— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) December 2, 2019
If he’s speaking about fans, it’s a little worrisome, but if he’s speaking about the team, then he’s on the right track. The fans ride and die with their team, but just because they’re along for the ride doesn’t mean that they don’t get to voice their frustration that the train looks to be derailing. The fans can see that the momentum of the offseason has hit a full stop and that the engine needs more coal to burn. The fire is cold, the destination seems far away, and who cares if there’ll be some more favorable stops in Oklahoma City and Memphis, the last couple times were very hospitable, so how will that change now?
Will the Utah Jazz fight? When Rudy Gobert went down, they showed two of their most spirited outings as far as pace, execution, and energy were concerned. Now with Rudy back it looks like they’re playing for themselves. This team lacks an identity, that remains to be found. But they can rediscover passion and energy on the court in the meantime.
Jazz have been great in the second game of a B2B
The Utah Jazz are 3-0 on the second night of a back to back. In those games they have scored on average 120 points per game. They’ve shot 51.1% from the field and 40% from three. They have a offensive rating of 116.3 and a defensive rating of 101.4. What I’m saying is, the Utah Jazz should play all their games on no rest.
Joking aside, it seems with less preparation comes better performance in the moment. This could be an indictment on how convoluted Quin’s pre-game preparations with days off has become. This team is better when it is put in a time crunch. If the past B2B games are any indication, Utah could surprise big tonight.
If the game gets bad, turn it off, and watch this soothing fire with Christmas music playing.
Game Thread Ground Rules
Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.
Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.