A while back I looked at how frequently the Utah Jazz were getting blown out this season. The data specifically pointed out that blow out losses were happening more frequently than ever before. And it was a bad thing. Essentially, over the last five seasons the Jazz got blown out only 13.9% of the time, but this season (back then in January) they were getting blown out 26.2% of the time. Now that there are four more games remaining this season I have bad news. It has only gotten worse.
For the season the Jazz have scored 7,358 points and given up 7,918 points. That's an average of 94.3 ppg for the good guys, and 101.5 for the bad guys. With a -7.2 margin on average it's not hard to see why this team is 24-54. If you look at it more deeply you get more bad news.
In the Jazz wins (24), they have out scored the bad guys 2,461 to 2,247. Or 102.5 to 93.6. So in the wins the winning looks good: a positive margin of 8.9 points per game on average. But the losses are the larger problem. The Jazz give up the ghost way too easy.
There have been a ton of losses (54), and sadly, the majority of them have been blowout losses (final margin of 16 or more points). In the losses the Jazz score only 4,897 points, and give up 5,671. Those are averages of 90.7 ppg for us, and 105.0 ppg for them -- and a final margin of -14.3 per game.
That is just, just so bad. The defense has to have been the biggest surprise this season (beyond Tyrone Corbin 's continual defiance of going 'all in' with the youth... it only makes sense to befriend the guys who are mercenary free agents. Because the young guys are really going to go to bat for you in end of the season interviews).
When you break down the wins and losses you get something very interesting.
If you look at this as percentages you get even more startling news.
First the good -- the Jazz win a lot of their close games. They are 9-7 in them, and that 37.5% of our wins are close games. Only 13.0% of our losses are close losses. We fight hard. Or so that data seems to tell us.
The Jazz have blown teams out 4 times all year, and won by 11 or more 8 times all season. Those numbers for losses are 20 blowout losses, and losing by 11 or more in 32 of our 54 losses this year. And here's the big kick in the pants. In January the Jazz lost in a blowout 26.2% of the time, effectively losing by blowout once in every four losses. Now? It's ballooned up to losing by blowout in 37.0% of all the losses. That's losing by blowout nearly twice in every five losses.
Blowout losses are easier to take if you give them out too. But right now it's a 5 : 1 advantage for the other team in this regard. I don't see how blowout losses factor into our great, and unbroken line of 'winning culture' seasons. But they should at some point.
Jerry Sloan always said that you can't fire the players. But it's also the coach's job - now more than ever - to light a fire under the players. I don't see a lot of fire from this club this year.
Who do you think the blame goes to for all the blowouts? In any other industry a catastrophic failure rate of 37% is very rarely championed or rewarded. Be honest. Be consistent. And who should get the blame here?