SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 26: Mike Conley #11 of the Utah Jazz shoots a free throw during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 26, 2021 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Utah Falls In Heartbreaking Fashion To New Orleans

A big night from Bojan Bogdanovic wasn't enough as the Jazz fell on a last-second three-pointer to the Pelicans, suffering their second heartbreaking defeat in one week

Despite a big night from Bojan Bogdanovic, the Utah Jazz fell 98-97 to the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

"We're playing like a young team right now, and we're losing to young teams, too," Rudy Gobert said postgame. "Even the young teams play better than us in the clutch. We've got to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize what's going on."

Bogdanovic finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-15 from the floor and 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. He added four rebounds and was the only starter to finish with a positive plus/minus rating.

It was another impressive performance for Bogdanovic, as he's been highly efficient the past three games. He's shooting 57.5% (23-for-40) from the field and 53.8% (14-for-26) from three-point territory during that stretch. Healthy and in rhythm, Bogdanovic is proving to be a phenomenal No. 2 option alongside Donovan Mitchell, giving the Jazz a ferocious 1-2 punch.

Suffering no turkey hangover, Joe Ingles also played well for the Jazz. He finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from deep, adding in five rebounds and finishing with a +7 rating.

Utah appeared to be in control late in the game when, after struggling for much of it, used a late 12-2 run to take a 97-93 lead with 37.4 seconds remaining. Mitchell had five consecutive points in the run to give the Jazz the lead before Gobert's free throw pushed the advantage to four.

Unfortunately, the Pelicans would score the game's final five points, including a Devonte' Graham pull-up three-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining for the one-point lead. Mitchell would have one last chance, but Gobert was whistled for an offensive foul, ending the comeback.

"Let's be honest, teams are coming at me defensively. ... I'm not sneaking up on people," Mitchell said. "We're getting everybody's best shot, and so am I. ... We are built for this. This is not a reflection of what I do and how hard I work, this is a test of character."

After the first quarter, the Jazz jumped out to a five-point lead, riding Bogdanovic's 13 points (3-for-3 from deep) and a staunch defensive effort. Utah held New Orleans to 23 points and 37.5% shooting from the floor.

Utah went cold in the second quarter from the floor, struggling to find a rhythm on offense, and was held to just 17 points — one of their lowest scoring outputs of the season. But they found themselves trailing 46-45 at the half thanks to a continued effort on the defensive end of the court.

Utah came out in the second half and reestablished itself on the court, thanks in large part to Mike Conley and Royce O'Neale's combined 14 points.

Despite the three-point lead entering the fourth quarter, the Jazz struggled to take care of the ball and was held to 22 points. Once again though, they found themselves with a chance to win late in the game thanks to forcing four turnovers and a tough defensive effort.

It wasn't enough though, as Mitchell's last shot never counted and Bogdanovic's three-quarter court heave at the buzzer missed the mark.

"When teams get physical, we've got to be able to still continue to make plays and make the easy play," Mitchell said. "I'm not going to let this deter me from what I've been doing, but in the same token, I've just got to be better."

Mitchell finished with 16 points, six assists, and four rebounds, while Conley added 12 points, five assists, and four rebounds — his fourth consecutive game in double figures.

"After the last game, I think our whole team felt good about the way the ball moved. ... Your anticipation is that that continues to happen," Snyder said. "It didn't, and it impacts our whole team. When we don't just make an easy pass, whether it be to change sides or to get off it and trust each other, it's harder for us."

Postgame, Snyder, Mitchell, Gobert, and Bogdanovic all reiterated how the ball just isn't moving right now. They said that while the team has an identity, they aren't playing like it — and it's not up to the coaches to change things. It's on the players themselves.

"I don't know how many times we're going to have to lose in the playoffs," Gobert said. "I'm going to be 30 or probably 40 by then. I don't know how many years we're going to be losing in the playoffs without learning. … We're doing the same stuff over and over and over."

They'll have the opportunity to rectify things and start a new path when they host the same Pelicans team on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST.

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