Utah Jazz's fourth-quarter rally falls short in New Orleans

by Aaron Falk

From hopelessness, to hope, to heartbreak.

After trailing by as much as 17 in the fourth quarter, the Utah Jazz’s late rally came up just short, 129-124, on Monday night in New Orleans.

The Pelicans led by 14 with under four minutes remaining. But the Jazz clamped down defensively and cut the lead to 1 over the next 3 minutes. Donovan Mitchell missed what would have been a go-ahead layup with 31.6 seconds to play and Rudy Gobert was whistled for a foul while battling for the offensive rebound.

It was still a one-possession game after New Orleans All-Star Zion Williamson hit a pair of free throws. The Jazz couldn’t get a good look at the basket, though, and Mike Conley’s 3-point attempt missed.

“At the end of the game we competed, and we were doing what we were doing, but we let up” for most of the game, Mitchell said. “We’ll fix it, but this was a tough one. It’s tough to accept because it’s stuff we can control.”

The rally was furious but the lead-up to it was frustrating for the Jazz and head coach Quin Snyder.

Williamson was too much for the Jazz to handle in the third quarter, scoring 15 points and building up a 99-88 lead for the Pelicans. Williamson and forward Brandon Ingram each had 26 points to lead the Pels.

The Jazz were outscored 74-56 in the paint.

“We just have to be better defensively,” Snyder said. “Transition. On the ball. We were getting blown by. There wasn’t a lot we did well throughout the course of the game on the defensive end. We just have to be better. I think they’re things we know, we just didn’t execute. We have to execute.”

Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic scored a game-high 31 points. All-Star center Rudy Gobert had 22 points and nine rebounds. Mitchell had 21 points. And sixth man Jordan Clarkson scored 20 off the bench.

The Jazz dropped to 27-8 with the loss. Mitchell and his teammates are still in first place in the West with one game left to play before the All-Star break, but the All-Star guard has seen his team go from the hunters to the hunted in light of their success.

“That’s to be expected when we’re doing what we’re doing,” Mitchell said. “We play free, play with joy and teams want to kill that joy. And rightfully so. We just have to be ready for it.”

 

Twenty-Seven from 20 

Rudy Gobert makes the Jazz offense go. The 7-footer’s commitment to running the floor, setting screens and drawing defenders into the paint with him helps create the space necessary for all of those 3-point buckets his teammates have hit during this record-breaking season.

But the big man showed he has a little range, too. In the first quarter Monday night, Gobert found himself wide open, pulled up from 20 feet and drilled it.

 

 

It was the seventh time Gobert has ever made a shot from 17 feet and beyond. The bucket tied the longest field goal of Gobert’s career:

• 20 feet — March 1, 2021 vs. New Orleans

• 20 feet — Feb. 12, 2018 vs. San Antonio

• 19 feet — March 27, 2019 vs. L.A. Lakers

• 18 feet — Feb. 9, 2018 vs. Charlotte

• 18 feet — March 28, 2016 vs. L.A. Lakers

• 17 feet — April 1, 2016 vs. Minnesota

• 17 feet — Oct. 30, 2017 vs. Dallas

 

Triple Bogey

Bojan Bogdanovic was shooting 31.6 percent from deep over his last 10 games coming into the night.

But the Jazz never worry if Bogey will get hot. As Donovan Mitchell has said, it doesn’t matter how Bogey is shooting, he’d still expect Bogdanovic to make the next one.

Bogdanovic came out hot on Monday night, hitting his first five 3-point attempts of the game. He had 19 points at halftime, his season-high for points in the first half.

 

Passing the Mailman

With five blocks against New Orleans, Gobert passed Karl Malone for fourth all-time in Jazz history.

Malone’s son, K.J., happened to be in the stands for the game.

Gobert now has 1,127 blocks for his career. He trails only Mark Eaton (3,064), Andrei Kirilenko (1,380) and Greg Ostertag (1,253) in the Jazz record book.

Up Next

The Jazz close out the first half of the season on the road in Philadelphia. Tipoff against Ben Simmons and the 76ers is set for Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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