The Utah Jazz, for the second straight night, failed to get their 30th win of the season. Last night they lost by 2 (a Russell Westbrook jumper with 1.4 sealed their fate) to the Oklahoma City Thunder at home. Tonight they lost by 10 to the Denver Nuggets, 103-93. I don’t like excuses for this team now that they are a) healthy, b) deep, and c) playing well. But I guess this fourth game in five nights on the road — and a 33-17 pounding in the second quarter — happened to be the story of this game.
Utah, down 17 at one point, fought back to make it a 92-88 game with 2:48 to play. But like most teams that have a big climb to make in the final frame (13 points, something under 10 would have been manageable) they burned themselves out fighting back and had little for the finish.
Derrick Favors had his best game of the season, schooling Nikola Jokic when matched up against him — but he was matched up against him only because Rudy Gobert was in super duper foul trouble. (He would play only 25 minutes tonight, yet somehow finish with 11 and 9 — with I think 8 of those rebounds coming in the fourth quarter!) Aside from Derrick the Jazz bench provided a lift again. Boris Diaw dropped 16 points (2/5 from deep) and 3 assists, and Alec Burks added 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block to the cause.
And this jam. For some reason the vine / video of his Jam isn’t available. So here’s this layup instead.
But really it was a tired team with tired legs missing shots. Again. Utah would shoot .412 from the floor and only go 7/22 from deep, which is .318, which is much lower than their season average. Last night they only made 5 threes . . . so improvement? Maybe?
Gordon Hayward shot 2/10 and George Hill went 6/18 (1/6 from deep -- including missing two potential game changing threes late in the fourth). They missed shots. They missed shots that are in the flow of the offense. Shots that they have taken and made all season long. Sometimes you just don’t have it in you.
Rudy Gobert and others worked their butts off in the fourth to make this a game. But being down 15 with 8 minutes to go is a hard come-back to pull off.
Utah has the night off tomorrow, and play their fifth game in seven nights on Thursday — on TNT — agianst the Los Angeles Lakers. For me? I’d rather the two losses in a row to OKC/DEN than winning both of those, only to lose to LAL at home on national TV on a night everyone will be watching TNT (for the All-Star reserves list).