Despite their best start since the 2008 season, the Jazz suffered their first defeat of the season when their frantic fourth quarter comeback came up short in a 107-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
"There are a lot of things we are capable of doing better," Utah head coach Quin Snyder said postgame. "Give Chicago credit. They came out and really defended. … The turnovers really hurt us."
Here are five things you need to know following the loss:
1.) Mike Conley Jr. Is Very ImportantIf casual NBA fans didn't realize how important Conley was to the Jazz last year in the postseason, all you had to do was watch Saturday's night game to grasp the concept entirely.
Snyder elected to rest Conley (right knee injury maintenance) against the Bulls, and Utah's play showed how badly it missed their all-star point guard.
The Jazz committed 20 turnovers, which led to 25 Chicago points, and shot 35-of-92 (38.5%) from the floor and 11-for-38 (29.7%) from three-point territory for the game.
"It's hard. … We are asking Donovan (Mitchell) to play the point for however many minutes he played tonight," Snyder said. "When you get pressured like that, we have to help each other. … We've got to space better, move the ball quicker because your margin for error is much less."
Conley might not always have the most points or most assists for the Jazz, but he does every little thing right that gets this offense firing on all cylinders. Utah may want to get used to playing without him as Snyder said the team would be very cautious with his workload throughout the regular season.
2.) Turnovers Still An IssueIn three of their five games this season, the Jazz have committed at least 19 turnovers.
Utah turned the ball over 20 times Saturday night, leading to 25 Chicago points. Likewise, the Jazz forced just nine Bulls turnovers and only scored eight points off them.
While it's not entirely shocking that Utah turns the ball considering their style of play and overall pace, what is concerning is how the turnovers are happening.
Due to the team's overall talent on both ends of the court, the Jazz have been able to get away with it – until Saturday night.
Utah needs to be extra cautious of the turnovers against talented and physical teams, especially on the road. Of course, some can be chalked up to Conley not playing, but it's not an excuse Snyder, Donovan Mitchell, and the team is willing to concede.
"The biggest thing is when teams turn up the physicality, we were still able to execute. Tonight we were reckless with the ball and made mistakes," Mitchell said. "We did a lot of things wrong in our execution. If we execute better, we don't worry about getting those fouls calls which lead to turnovers."
3.) Donovan Mitchell Gets More AggressiveAfter getting to the free throw line just 11 times in the past four games, Mitchell made it his mission to be aggressive and attack the rim on Saturday night.
He did just that, finishing the game 10-of-10 from the free throw line en route to a season-high 30 points.
Although he shot 9-of-27 from the floor and 2-for-11 from beyond the arc, he stayed aggressive when attacking the paint and was either getting a foul called or finding the open man (season-high tying six assists).
With his shot not falling the way he's accustomed to, establishing a rhythm at the free throw line was the next best thing because Utah's offense tends to thrive when he's aggressive.
Mitchell is too talented of a shooter for his shot not to fall. But his ability to relentlessly attack the rim and get to the free throw line is just as good for two easy points – he's shooting a career-high 92.9% from the charity stripe.
4.) Rudy Gobert Is A MonsterWith Mitchell struggling to score – and Utah's offense as a whole failing to match last season's numbers, Gobert has been a revelation.
Through five games, he's averaging 17.8 points and 18 rebounds per game, numbers that would demolish his career-highs.
While his rebounding numbers are impressive, it's not a total shock to see that part of his game post such high numbers. At 7-feet tall, Gobert has more than enough strength, length, and size to dominate the glass – something he's done for the majority of his career.
But it's his offensive evolution that's garnering some early MVP talk.
Gobert is playing through contact much better and finishing more assertively at the rim. He's also doing a much better job of sealing off smaller defenders in the paint and forcing them to foul him to prevent the easy dunk.
That's where the most improvement has come, from his free throw numbers. A career 63.1% from the charity stripe, Gobert is shooting 70.5% (31-for-44) this season. He already has two games of attempting 10+ free throws.
If teams want to force him to get points at the charity stripe, Gobert is proving that won't be a problem this year.
5.) How Will Snyder Rest PlayersEntering this season, Snyder and the Jazz made a point of saying that overall health was going to be a massive priority this year.
After dealing with health issues towards the end of the past two seasons – and the subsequent postseasons – Utah plans to be more proactive in getting their players rest throughout the regular season.
We saw the first of those dominos fall Saturday night when Snyder elected to rest Conley. Although he's dealing with no ailments that occurred this season, it was a preventative measure ahead of tomorrow's game in Milwaukee.
It will be interesting to see if anybody rests against the Bucks, considering all five starters and reigning sixth man of the year Jordan Clarkson all played at least 29 minutes against the Bulls.
No one on the Jazz likes to sit, even going so far as jokingly mocking missing preseason games. But the team has much larger goals and understands what's truly at stake in April, May, and June – and that health-conscious approach began Saturday night.