Some things in life are a given. The sunrise. Taxes. Death. The Jazz getting boatraced while wearing yellow jerseys. This is common knowledge among Jazz fans now, but with this loss the Jazz fall to 1-7 on the season while wearing this kit. I know they’re under contract to do so a certain number of times, but the sooner it ends the better. The turning point in the game was the 5:27 mark in the 2nd quarter, when the Spurs clung to a 46-42 lead.
Then the wheels fell off. It was 19-4 for the rest of the half, and the Jazz looked like they had forgotten to play basketball. Veteran coach Greg Popovich flanked his protégé, Quin Snyder, manipulating the Jazz into taking the shots that he wanted while exploiting the biggest weakness in Quin Snyder’s defensive scheme—the midrange. Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Derrick White, and Patty Mills absolutely torched the Jazz.
The third and fourth quarters were more of the same. Quin Snyder put in the “up 20, down 20” team, giving Emmanuel Mudiay, Tony Bradley, and Georges Niang some burn. Mudiay actually looked like the only Jazzman with fire in his belly out there, aggressively slashing to the rim and creating space for himself in the midrange. But you know it’s a bad night if you’re depending on your 3rd-string point guard for offense.
The rest of the game went the same way. The Spurs got whatever they wanted, and most of the Jazz team looked like they just wanted to hit the showers. The last six minutes or so seemed to last as long as the other 42 combined, because both teams gummed up the works with fouls. The Spurs were playing ugly basketball by this point. The Jazz could have taken advantage of this and made a comeback, but they continued to play ugly basketball as well.
Rational Reaction: It’s Just Rust
Hey, these things happen. The Jazz had a lot of momentum going into the break, having finally re-integrated Mike Conley into their schemes. Jordan Clarkson was red-hot. Rudy looked unstoppable. It’s hard to carry that momentum through the break, and the Jazz should be back on track soon.
Over-Reaction: How does this team really perform in the playoffs?
Quin Snyder got absolutely embarrassed tonight. The Spurs are a well-coached, yet beatable team. I know, Greg Popovich is great. But tonight made it look like even an average coach could create real problems given time to prepare. Our very own Mychal Lowman summed it up nicely:
Jazz having an open three opportunity every time they push tempo. They're not taking it. And Pop seems ready for every set.— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) February 22, 2020
This game is not making me feel optimistic about a 7 game series against anyone.
Under-Reaction: Jordan Clarkson may have been hurt
Late in the fourth quarter, Jordan Clarkson came down on Brynn Forbes’ foot. He appeared to be okay, and got some technical free throws for his trouble, but a hobbled Clarkson is something the Jazz can’t afford right now.
The Jazz play the Houston Rockets next, also at home, in a game with some major playoff impacts—the two teams are separated by only 1⁄2 game in the standings, and the season series is currently tied at one game apiece. The winner of that game gets a significant leg up in the playoff seeding race down the stretch.