Two games ago the Utah Jazz lost to the Memphis Grizzlies on a last second three. Last game they barely squeaked out a win against the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder. Tonight, the Jazz lost on a last-second three to the 4-16 Pelicans minus Zion Williamson with a final score of 98-97.
The Jazz got a great offensive night from Bojan Bogdanovic who shot 9/14 from the field and 5/8 from three. Bogdanovic was easily the most efficient player for the Jazz ending with 23 points.
Donovan Mitchell struggled again with this shooting. His shooting slump continues to hurt the Jazz and they need him to find his stroke soon if they want to get back to winning games. Mitchell did have 6 assists but it’s hard for the Jazz to overcome a 6/21 shooting performance no matter how you look at it.
Mike Conley also struggled tonight from three going 0/4 but with a decent 4/10 from the field. Conley also had 5 assists but didn’t impact the game all that much tonight.
Probably the biggest standout from this game is the difference in assists. Utah had 17 total team assists to 27 for the Pelicans. That may be because the Jazz need to move the ball more, but it could have been the fact that the Pelicans successfully took the Jazz bigs out of the game. Rudy Gobert had 9 points tonight and Hassan Whiteside had 1. That means Whiteside didn’t have a single field goal tonight. So you can’t even blame this one solely on Jonas Valanciunas. Maybe it was the lack of ball movement for the Jazz, maybe it was one of the Jazz strengths being taken away. Either way, the Jazz weren’t able to pivot because of the shooting struggles with Mitchell. Since Nov. 20th the Jazz have had the second-lowest assist percentage in the league with the only team worse being the Sacramento Kings. Things are bad right now in Jazzland.
But maybe this is a good thing. Maybe the Jazz need a wake-up call? If everything for this team is based on Mitchell having a good shooting night it’s going to be tough for the Jazz to succeed this season. I mentioned it in the game thread but the Jazz are last in the league is a lot of hustle stats whether it’s deflections or loose balls. The Jazz are also struggling defensively recently and that doesn’t seem like something that can be fixed pretty easily. At the end of games, the Jazz have been unable to get stops and close out teams when it mattered most.
If you look at the Pelicans box score they didn’t have a much better statistical night. Brandon Ingram scored the most for the Pelicans but it was on 8/22 shooting from the field and just 1/4 from three for 23 points. But the Pelicans made the plays they needed to win. That’s not to say the Jazz didn’t make plays at the end. Donovan Mitchell made some big buckets at the end to give the Jazz a lead but things came up empty after Devonte Graham’s monster three at the end.
The Jazz have a lot to figure out the rest of this season. They need to move the ball better, they need Donovan Mitchell to find his stroke, they need to be better defensively. Some of those things can be fixed and some cannot. The good news is the bitter taste from this should go away quick because they play tomorrow again. The bad news? There’s no telling what things will look like tomorrow.