The Utah Jazz took their first loss of the regular season tonight in a tough game vs. the Bulls, falling 107-99 in Chicago. It was a rough night for the Jazz offense, as they missed a lot of makeable shots early on and couldn’t find a consistent rhythm on that end the entire night. It was a game where Utah missed Mike Conley tremendously, as both his ability to make smart decisions with the ball and get hot from the perimeter were desperately needed. Overall there shouldn’t be much reason to panic, as single-digit losses to good teams are a normal thing over the course of a regular season.
Final.— utahjazz (@utahjazz) October 31, 2021
Back tomorrow at MIL pic.twitter.com/vMuyWVkKnj
One concerning early-season trend that continued tonight was Donovan Mitchell’s struggles as a jump shooter, as he had yet another poor game shooting the ball from 3pt range. He shot just 2-11 from there tonight, his worst mark so far this season, and now is just shooting a lowly 28.6% from 3 on the year. This is obviously a far cry from the Donovan that we are used to, especially after he shot a scorching 39.6% across last year's regular season and playoffs (a full 11% higher than this year!).
It’s very likely just a small sample size cold stretch that will correct itself over the course of the season, but it’s still disappointing after what we saw from him in the playoffs. Donovan seems to have a bad habit of starting off the season playing poorly (for his standards) and while it’s nice that he usually finishes the year on fire, it would be cool to see him be dominant for an entire season instead of having to play his way into a rhythm.
It would be irresponsible to blame the loss on Donovan however, as he still had an alright game even without his shot falling. He finished with 30/7/6 and as much as you can gripe about his inefficiency, the Jazz offense was still clearly a lot more functional with him on the floor than off.
Dancin' with the Spida!— Jazz Nation (@JazzNationCP) October 31, 2021
Donovan Mitchell goes deep in his bag for the scoop pic.twitter.com/JNtkcgYQOS
Despite there being multiple areas of improvement from tonight's game, the MAIN reason why the Jazz lost was the poor outside shooting from the team in general. There were some individual players who struggled more than others (Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson combined to go 5-20 from 3pt), but the team in general just was not able to make shots. They went just 11-38 (29%) from 3 on the night, a bad mark for any team, much less one of the greatest shooting teams in league history. Rough shooting nights like this are bound to happen over an 82 game season, but it still would have been nice to fight through and get this win regardless.
As tough as tonight’s loss was, however, it shouldn’t be cause for too much concern going forward. Credit a good Bulls team for playing well and defending at a high level on the perimeter, but the Jazz still were in the game late even with all that went wrong. The fact that this game was still fairly competitive despite the Jazz missing Mike Conley, shooting terribly from distance, and some questionable whistles, says a lot about how good the Jazz are. Some games you just have to forget about and move past, and hopefully, Utah can do that tomorrow with another big game looming against the Milwaukee Bucks.