Utah Jazz hope to right ship before All-Star break

Utah Jazz hope to right ship before All-Star break

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz players might want to take some notes from Blake Griffin.

This has nothing to do with making funny commercials, jumping over a Kia car during a dunk contest or annoying opposing teams’ fans, by the way.

Rather, Jazz players should adopt the attitude Griffin and his teammates displayed Monday night while the Clippers beat Utah for the 18th time in their past 19 matchups.

“I think just when you play the Jazz you know the type of team that you are going to get. They’re a really well-coached team. They play very, very hard, especially at home,” Griffin said after amassing 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the 88-72 win at Vivint Arena.

“So,” he continued, “I think a lot times we know coming in it’s going to be a fight. We can’t come in and play soft and not play hard against these guys or you’re going to get embarrassed, so it is one of those games you’re going to have to get up for.”

On Monday night, it was the Jazz who were soft, didn’t play hard and were embarrassed in front of their home fans while losing to the Clippers in their own arena for the ninth time in a row.

The Jazz had fewer answers for what happened in this debacle than they did made shots on a night when they only connected on 32.2 percent of their field goals.

“I don’t know if it was one of those nights, but we didn’t play with force,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. “We looked kind of nervous offensively. We looked like we weren’t moving the ball like we used to or having fun like we used to and then we got down pretty quick.”

In a weird twist, the Jazz now have as many losses at The Viv as they do in road games. Utah is only 19-11 at home compared to 15-11 in away games.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder isn’t sure where the disconnect is.

“I don’t know. This season’s not over so hopefully we’ll be better at home and be relatively better on the road still,” he said in his pregame interview Monday. “I haven’t dug into it. As much as anything, I want to win at home as well as on the road. I’m probably a better coach on the road. I don’t know.”

Strangely, this disappointing three-game stretch, including a meltdown in Dallas, a home loss to Boston and the rough outing Monday, came after the Jazz won four in a row. That surge included impressive offensive explosions at Atlanta (120-95) and at New Orleans (127-94) last week.

“We’ve played some of our best basketball in the last week. And tonight we showed what a bad team looks like when you’re not ready to play, when we’re not tough enough mentally to play,” Snyder said. “We haven’t always been that. We were that tonight. Will we be that again? I hope not. If we are, hopefully it won’t be for an entire game.”

Snyder said he can’t put too much importance on Wednesday’s game against Portland, which is the last one before the nine-day All-Star break.

Utah doesn’t play again until Friday, Feb. 24, at Milwaukee.

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“The season is not over. We have one game left until the All-Star break and there’s a lot more after that,” Snyder said. “We could say we need to beat Portland to have a good psyche going into the All-Star break. Or we could say if we lose to Portland maybe we’ll dig down and work harder.

“I just know that we were bad (Monday night). I’m confident in this group that we’ll be better the next time we play.”

Added Gobert: “Everybody has to individually, collectively react positively and be back Wednesday with a winning attitude and focus.”

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Published at Tue, 14 Feb 2017 22:05:00 +0000