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Emptying the Noggin — Jazz’s collective slump continues in LA loss

By David Locke, Utah Jazz

SUMMARY: With home court for the playoffs in the balance, the Jazz fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 108-95. Utah never led, other than 2-0 to start.

  • The Clippers jumped on the Jazz from the beginning and the Jazz couldn’t get the offense flowing at all early in the game. The Jazz scored just 14 points in the first quarter and didn’t hit their first 3-pointer until the 11:00 mark of the second quarter.
  • The Jazz were down as many as 16 and fought back to tie the game at 70-70. But unlike the last time the teams played, the Jazz were unable to take advantage when Chris Paul went to the bench. Last time, the Jazz were +12 with Chris Paul on the bench; On Saturday, the Clippers went on a 10-0 run to take a 80-70 lead and never looked back. The Clippers were +9 with Chris Paul on the bench today.
  • Gordon Hayward collided with Austin Rivers knee-to-knee when making a cut. Gordon ran on it in the hallway, then returned to the game, but when he landed after taking a 3 (that he made), he immediately signaled to the bench that he couldn’t continue. The official word on Gordon is a left quad contusion.
  • I found three other players who had quad contusions this year: Anthony Davis didn’t miss any games, Dwight Howard missed one and Cody Zeller missed seven, played one and missed seven more. Clearly, there is no common thread.
  • Gordon was shut out in the first quarter of the game, which is Gordon’s biggest scoring quarter this season. Gordon has not shot the ball well against the Clippers this season. In three games, he is now 16 of 42. Luc Mbah a Moute is a good, physical defender. There is a list of guys that cause Gordon some trouble and they all fit the same mold: Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Andre Roberson and Luc Mbah a Moute. If we play the Clippers in the playoffs, this is something Quin is going to have to solve in order to get Gordon going.
  • The Jazz go as George Hill goes. In wins, George Hill shoots 51% and 46% from 3. In losses, he shoots 40% and 24%. He was 4 of 11 today and 1 for 3 from three — right on the numbers for a loss.
  • Rodney Hood has scored in double figures twice in eight games. Rudy Gobert has become the Jazz’s second scorer, but they need more of a threat than Rudy as a roller and Gordon on the perimeter.
  • Unfortunately, the Jazz have a litany of players that are in shooting slumps. As a team, they came in to the game as 26th in the NBA in EFG over the last five games. George Hill is now 6 of his last 27 from 3 (22%), Alec Burks is 2 for his last 13 overall and 11 of his last 39 from 3 (28%) Rodney Hood is 12 of his last 40 from the field and 3 of his last 14 from 3. Ever since guarding LeBron James for 35 minutes, Joe Ingles is three of 16 from 3. Joe Johnson hit on 3 of 7 tonight, but came in at 27% from 3 since All-Star break and 4 of his last 23 from above the break. Boris Diaw is 8 of his last 24 from the field.
  • As depressing as that last bullet point, was it is clearly collective. This leads me to believe it is a fatigue issue or something is off in the offense where the timing is astray. The good news is I assume they will all get their flow back at a similar time. All of these guys are better than those numbers — they all have been for their careers and they have been for this season. Something is off right now. Lots of this is caused by players being forced into larger roles than they are used to playing due to injuries.
  • Rudy Gobert was awesome again tonight. He had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks.
  • Today, the Jazz‘s defensive rating was 116. In 6 of the last 9 games, the Jazz have allowed a defensive rating over 111. The Lakers are the worst in the NBA at 111 and only Brooklyn and LA are over 109.1 for the season.
  • How has this happened? Is it as simple as Favors being hurt and losing the number one defensive combo in the NBA? Is it the offensive struggles meaning the defense gets stressed? Is the same fatigue impacting both side of the ball?
  • When we were at our best, we were the best in the NBA at transition defense and the best at defending in the half court. It was a deadly combo.
  • March was going to be brutal. We all knew it. We are feeling it right now.