The Utah Jazz (1-2) dropped their Sunday Matinee game against the Los Angeles Clippers (2-0) 88-75. Utah, playing their third game this season without Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, would have to be at their best if they were going to challenge a Western Conference contender in their own gym. Mercifully, Derrick Favors was playing in this game — but he and Rudy Gobert alone couldn’t beat the star studded line-up of LA’s ‘B Team’.
In the first quarter we saw the Jazz control the pace of the game — something that would persist for almost the entire game save for a third quarter run by the bad guys. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin are big on the glass, but for the most part George Hill and crew held onto the ball and prevented LA from getting anything in transition. Joe Johnson and Rodney Hood made some shots and Utah had the lead after one, 22-19.
Quin Snyder’s rotations are all kinds of messed up right now with the injuries and introduction of three new players. Boris Diaw starting is nice in theory. But his skills are probably better suited for the bench right now. That’s just one example. The larger trend here is that the Jazz bench currently isn’t where it needs to be — even with Derrick Favors out there on the court with them. Utah lost the second quarter 23-13, and the third 27-21.
In particular that third is where things got off the rails. Austin Rivers was playing like Brandon Roy out there, going one on one and hitting step-back jumpers with a care in the world — and swishing them. He was just too quick for Joe Ingles, and Rodney Hood — well, Hood hasn’t defended anyone all year long. J.J. Redick had his number all game. That third quarter is where the Clippers made a 7 point game turn into a 13 point affair that Utah couldn’t possibly recover from.
The fourth quarter was almost entirely 12 minutes of garbage time. Doc Rivers kept in his starters for a curiously long period of time to run up the score past 20. Utah’s 3rd string beat LA’s 3rd string and made the final score just 13. That mimics how Utah’s 4th string beat LA’s 4th string back in that one preseason game they took from them.
Of course, the second preseason game between these two teams foreshadowed the 3rd quarter push by Doc’s team and their vets. They know how to win games. They proved it again.
Utah needed to play perfectly to win this one, and they did not. That’s 16 losses in the last 17 games -- the one lonely win against LA being that night Gordon Hayward went off. The Clippers just have it over us right now. Hopefully we don’t see them in the playoffs. Yes, I’m saying playoffs. Utah will make the playoffs this year. Games like tonight suck. But it’s still October. Don’t go crazy.
Statistically, no one really had good games. Joel Bolomboy maybe? In his four minutes of action he had 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. So, I guess that’s awesome. Trey Lyles and Boris Diaw are bad at defense. Dante exum had his moments. George Hill is our MVP, with an 18 point, 3 assist, 2 rebound, 2 steal game against CP3. Derrick Favors would have had a double double if not for his 1/8 shooting. (Not really in game shape yet, attempted layups when normally they would have been dunks.) Rudy Gobert would have had one if he played normal minutes -- foul trouble and the blowout kept him on the bench.
See you all on Tuesday when the Jazz play, hold on, let me look it up . . . the San Antonio Spurs! Oh crap.
[Also sorry this recap is late, I was on the phone with my senior citizen parents and they had a lot to talk about.]