The 2019-20 Utah Jazz season wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Another loss. At home. Against a team on a back-to-back. Without one of their best players. Stop me if you’ve heard it before. The Utah Jazz might have hit their lowest point of the season last night against the Boston Celtics, and the disappointment just keeps on growing. This was after the Jazz announced yesterday afternoon that Mike Conley was getting benched, but then changing their minds and announcing that it was actually Joe Ingles getting benched for Royce O’Neale. These changes ended up not making much of a difference, as the outcome remained the same as the prior three games, a late-game collapse and another loss on the record.
Is the sky falling on the Utah Jazz? That phrase might seem a bit dramatic, but due to the expectations this team faced, it seems to fit just fine. Quin Snyder called the loss against the Suns the other night a “low-point” game. If that game was the low point, then I’m not sure what you call last night’s collapse against the Celtics. The same thing that has haunted them in past games, offensive rebounds, bad shot selection, lack of focus, etc, crept into a game that was looking like a potential W. Even though from a record standpoint they are 36-22 and a 99% lock in the Playoffs, the Jazz really don’t have much going for them right now as a team.
They’ve lost four games in a row, all inside Vivint Smart Home Arena, and 9 of their last 13 overall. They seemed to have lost all sense of identity, especially defensively, and have posted one of the worst defensive ratings in the NBA in the last few weeks. They’re not playing like a team, and it’s absolutely taken its toll on chemistry and on-court cohesiveness. After last night’s loss to the Celtics, nobody was in the mood.
Dead silence in the lockerroom right now. Can hear a pin drop— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) February 27, 2020
Rudy Gobert appears to be very frustrated with how things are going for this team. You might have noticed it becoming a thing that his teammates aren’t finding him open or on mismatches under the basket.Last night had several of these instances.
Live look at Rudy Gobert wide open in the paint pic.twitter.com/Dq4NfgXSTP— Tavan Parker (@TavanParker) February 27, 2020
You might have seen this affecting Rudy’s effort levels and body language in several of the past few games. Rudy was seen last night having a lively conversation with Donovan and co. on the bench.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with lively conversation on the bench. In fact, based on how this teams played lately and the lack of emotion, I actually prefer it. But it is worth mentioning and keeping an eye on. It’s one of the issues that seems to be growing on this team.
Whether you like him, or hate him, you’ve got to feel bad for Mike Conley at this point. He’s having the worst season of his career, and Jazz fans are starting to lose their patience.
Mike Conley smokes a layup and gets booed pic.twitter.com/Vh0DdEWGhu— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 27, 2020
So, after all of this hoopla and a four-game losing streak, what will the Jazz do? They’re stuck with the players that they have. Everyone outside of Donovan Mitchell is going through a slump, and they look like a team that just has very little heart. Quin Snyder said he caught glimpses of good in last night’s loss to the Celtics, and they can start by building on that.
Quin Snyder: “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we gave a really pure, good effort. ... We’ve gotta make a few more shots ... we had some breakdowns, and it cost us the game.”— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) February 27, 2020
And on Bogey/Ingles struggles: “We’ve got some guys that we believe in, that are gonna find it.” pic.twitter.com/ZRo6zLiTsH
The Jazz’s schedule softens up a bit over the next little while, even with a road-trip coming up next week. They will probably string together some wins, but it’s not looking like anything higher than the 5th seed is probable at this point. Based on their performance lately, there’s nothing that really shows this team can win a playoff series against, well, anyone really. They’ve got to find whatever it is they lost. They need more from their supporting cast of Bogdanovic, Ingles, O’Neale and Clarkson. They need something, ANYTHING, from Mike Conley. They need Rudy to get back to being a bad dude. Donovan’s been great lately, so he can just stay that way. We’ll see what the Jazz can do. For now, maybe grab an extra pack of Oreos and find a good comedy to watch to raise your spirits. We’ll get through this together.