The year 2018 was one of the best years for the Jazz in recent memory. It had a historic playoff push, a breakout star and a second straight first-round playoff win. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have its bad moments. Here are the five moments Jazz fans will be eager to put behind them.
5. The Jazz Bear getting fired
The bear suit itself still roams the stands of Vivint Arena but the man inside it just isn’t the same without Jon Absey, who manned the iconic costume for 24 years and was fired for unclear reasons in October.
In Absey’s 24 years, the Jazz Bear was put into the Mascot Hall of Fame and had plenty of memorable moments. He also had plenty of less-than-professional moments, but endeared himself to Jazz fans even if teams and fans outside of Utah didn’t care much for him.
Life will roll on and the Jazz Bear will still be great, which is why this isn’t the worst thing to happen last year. It was still a little sad to see.
4. Jonas Jerebko’s revenge
The only player to lose his spot on the Utah Jazz roster in the 2018 offseason wound up with the Golden State Warriors. And after withstanding 38 points from Kevin Durant and 31 points from Steph Curry in the second game of the seaosn, Utah had a chance to beat the reigning NBA champs on national television and advance to 2-0.
Durant missed the go-ahead field goal with about two seconds left, which for a moment made it feel as though the Jazz had won, but then Jerebko tipped the miss in right in the face of Rudy Gobert.
3. The 50-point loss to the Mavericks
This loss was the worst loss by the Utah Jazz. Ever. Sure, the New Orleans Jazz lost by 56 March 14, 1979, but never since the team moved westward did the team play so bad for the entire 48 minutes. The abysmal display on both ends of the court, though in particular on offense, was not worthy of a high school JV girls team.
Utah’s second-half performance was perhaps the most pitiful display of basketball the state has ever seen, scoring just 22 points. Twenty. Two. In the third quarter the Jazz set a season low for points with 13 and then followed it up with nine in the fourth quarter.
Not one Jazz player had more than 11 points and the only players that didn’t have awful shooting nights were Rudy Gobert (4 of 6), Derrick Favors (4 of 8) and Ekpe Udoh (1 of 2). As a team, Utah finished 25 of 81 (30.9%) from the field and 6 for 35 (17.1%) from three. It was just the ninth time in franchise history that the Jazz have made less than 31% of its field goal attempts.
2. Loss to Atlanta
This was one of the defining moments of the 2017-18 season. Everyone looks back at this game with the bigger picture in mind, but we didn’t know that on the evening of Jan. 22.
Gobert had just made his second return the the season, having missed 26 of the last 34 game (27 if you count him playing just two minutes against Boston before leaving due to his second injury). His return gave the season hope, only to be ruthlessly crushed (or so we thought) by this embarrassing loss.
Not only did the Jazz lose to one of the worst teams in the NBA, they were down by 26 at one point in the fourth quarter, only gaining ground in garbage time. Mitchell, Ricky Rubio and Gobert combined to shoot 8 of 27 for just 21 points — barely more than Dennis Schroder’s 20 on the night.
The loss dropped Utah to 19-28 and left them with the 10th-worst record in the league and just a couple of games away from a top-5 lottery slot. It seemed as if Rudy Gobert’s now iconic “We will be fine” tweet from a couple weeks prior was doomed to fall on a pile of poorly aging tweets.
It was after this game that #TankNote reached its peak and the season doomed to be memorable only because of a handful of great performances by Donovan Mitchell.
1. All of November
Yes, even though I’ve already gone over one of the November events, we’re dipping back into this well. Losing by a historic amount was only part of what was a horrible month for the Jazz.
What made this whole month so bad wasn’t necessarily the record (they went 6-9, which isn’t that bad all things considered). It wasn’t the 50-point loss AND the 27-point loss to the Pacers AND the 33-point loss to the Pacers again at home. The deadening feeling we all got from this month came from the sickening idea that maybe everything the team had worked for and earned at the end of last season had been undone.
The Jazz didn’t look anything like the team that went 29-6 in its last 35 games of the regular season. Nor did they look like the team that took it to the reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the first round of the playoffs.
Which moment was your least favorite?
This poll is closed
All of November
Loss to Atlanta
The 50-point loss to Dallas
Jonas Jerebko’s revenge
Jazz Bear fired
Other (comment to specify)