The Utah Jazz lost tonight to the Dallas Mavericks, 114 - 100. That means this road trip they’ve gone 1-4. It’s a rough end to what has been a pretty disastrous stretch.
It was a tough night from the start with Rudy Gobert being a late scratch to the game. With Bojan Bogdanovic also out, that meant the Jazz started Eric Paschall and Juancho Hernangomez.
It’s not an ideal situation but it did create some interesting matchups. If we’re being honest, a team that is starting Paschall and Hernangomez is likely going to struggle to win. What it did do is create a 5-out lineup that gave the Jazz a different look. One of the players that benefited was Trent Forrest who the Jazz used as the roll man in pick and rolls and it worked out really well. By being the screener it negated the fact that Forrest doesn’t have an outside shot and he would then have the ball around the free throw line to either take a shot at the hoop or pass to an open shooter. It worked out multiple times and it’s something you could see working if the Jazz had reps with it. It will likely go away like a flash in the pan when the Jazz get healthy, but it’s an interesting nugget to remember.
Rudy Gay also had a really good night, one of his best of the season. He was the Jazz’s leading scorer with 18 while going 8/14 from the field and 2/5 from three. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists. It’s a shame that it was in a loss but maybe it’s a good sign for the playoffs? And if there’s anything the Jazz need right now, it’s some good signs.
There were two rough nights that really stuck out. The first was how much the Mavericks targeted Mike Conley. Nearly every single possession the Mavericks would isolate Conley on Luka Doncic and Luka would either go at him and score or find the open man. It was painful at times to see how little the Jazz could do to stop it. It’s one of those things that the Jazz can avoid with Gobert, sometimes by working to make sure Gobert stays on Luka, but it’s going to be something Dallas continues to do in the future, you can bet on that.
Finally, it was a tough night for Mitchell. With Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic out, the Jazz needed a big night from Mitchell in this one and it just wasn’t there. Dallas definitely focused their defensive pressure on Mitchell with occasional double teams, but Mitchell had some open threes he missed and two easy missed shots at the rim, including a missed dunk. Adding insult to literal injury that at the end of the game, Mitchell went down with some sort of sprained ankle at the end. For some reason, the Jazz kept him in the game afterward, but at that point, the damage was done.
All in all, it’s been a bad road trip for the Jazz who have a handful of games left before the playoffs start. At this point, they are looking like they are limping into the playoffs literally and figuratively. Something that was their goal at the beginning of the season not to do.