Game 71 of 82: Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers (31-40)
The 87 stages of grief
** Quin Snyder, asked about the Jazz losing three of their last four and if something’s changed or it’s just the way the schedule has broken
We haven’t had Gordon Hayward. We haven’t had Rodney Hood. I don’t, I mean, [just the way] the schedule’s broken. Golden State on the road, which is a pretty tough place to win. And then, you know, I know a lot is made of Minnesota being depleted, but they’ve been in every game, and you know, [Andrew] Wiggins and [Zach] LaVine, their two guys stepped up.
And you know, we’re playing without, basically, our three top wing players. We’re looking at Joe [Ingles], who was, you know, waived at the beginning of the year; we got him off waivers. And Eli[jah Millsap], who was in the D-League at the beginning of the year; and Dante [Exum], who’s 19; and Ian [Clark], who was in Boise last week. So, it’s not hard to look at our team and the schedule and figure out why, you know, we’re not playing the way we were two weeks ago.
And I’m not really willing to say that either. I thought, I think we’ve had some slippages defensively, but you know, with that group, it’s hard for us to score. It’s that simple. I mean, I hope people can see that. You know, I think really the question, you know, I don’t know that that question’s, I hope you can see that, ’cause it’s a credit to these guys that they’ve done what they’ve done.
And now you take away their two best wing players, and their best scorers, and it’s not hard to wonder why we lose — what, we’ve lost two in a row? Three in a row? I don’t even know. We beat the Lakers, we lost to Golden State, we lost to Minnesota. So we’ve lost two games in a row. And we could lose six in a row.
You know, we could, but I mean, I think I’ve maintained the entire time that it’s about us getting better. And when we lost nine in a row, I said the same thing. When we had the top record since the All-Star break, I said the same thing. And you know, let’s be realistic about what our guys are doing right now.
Rudy [Gobert]’s never played this many minutes in his career. [Derrick] Fav[ors] has been a warrior. You know, Gordon [Hayward], Rodney [Hood], Alec [Burks] are out. Trey [Burke]’s got the burden of the scoring falling clearly on his shoulders. And you know, to be too critical of him, I think, is unfair to him. You know, there wasn’t a ton of guys that are in position to take shots and score last, you know, last game. So, he’s put in a tough position.
I’m, I feel great about what we’ve been doing, you know, and I refuse to start defining us by whether we win or lose a game…Maybe we win that [Minnesota] game and then we’re talking about none of this.
We’re talking about what a great job our D-League guys and our seven rookies that sang “Happy Birthday” to Gordon the other day — literally, seven guys. You know? I said before, it was like a boy band. It was great, you know? It was a great song, but if you expect those same guys to go out and play, you know, against some of the teams that we’re facing, I think is unfair.
And that’s not to say they won’t bust their tails and play hard and we may win. But I think we need to be very honest with, it’s not fair to these guys for us to have expectations for them that, the same expectations we had two weeks ago.
** Snyder on injuries at this point in the season
I think some of it, you know, as you get to the end of the season, you would hate to sacrifice someone’s off-season and their health for one win…Right now, you know, you want the off-season to be really productive, and for us to get better in the off-season. It’s one of the reasons I think Alec had his surgery when he did…So I think the same is true of Gordon and Rodney, that, you know, to get them back, not necessarily prematurely, but with any questions that could jeopardize, you know, going forward, where they are, I think is not wise.
** Snyder, asked if he understands Burke and Exum’s struggles more because he was a point guard
I think that, the one, you know, and the empathy I do have for them is how much they’re asked to do, and how visible what they, their mistakes are so visible because they have the ball. If the ball gets stolen, if they get beat, if they miss a shot, if they make a turnover, you know, you see it all. And it takes a real mental toughness, especially for guys that are that young. It’s pretty well-documented that that position takes the longest to develop…and you know, we’re accelerating their development with experience, and with work.
Some comic relief:
** Quin Snyder on the game
I thought it was a really good effort. You know, we need to be smarter. I thought we had some breakdowns, obviously, fourth quarter defensively, giving up that many points. You know, but I felt like we really competed in a situation where it would’ve been easy not to, to feel sorry for ourselves or whatever, and battle.
** Snyder, asked if Favors’ 3-pointer was what he wanted on the last play
It was really a series of reads. The first guy was open, you know, Trey on a curl, and then Joe on a curl, and then Fav was supposed to pop. And you know, Fav ended up with it. It wasn’t executed exactly the way we wanted, but it was sufficient. Oftentimes, you know, your 5-man is the least likely person to take the shot, and you know, in this case he ended up with it.
** Derrick Favors on shouldering the offensive load tonight
It was something I was prepared to do tonight. And you know, I just wanted to get myself going early so, you know, in the second half, you know, other guys could get theirself going. But you know, it was a tough night for us.
** Favors, asked why the Jazz gave up another big fourth quarter
You know, probably just communication, and you know, something we can probably fix. You know, just gotta watch film and you know, just learn from it, you know, and do better against Denver. But you know, just something we just gotta get better at.
** Favors, asked what he thought when the 3-pointer left his hand
I thought it was going in. You know, it was a good shot to me. I thought it was going in, but you know, it rimmed out. You know, maybe next time.
Bizarre Injury #1
** Trey Burke, asked why the Jazz have given up two straight big fourth quarters
I don’t think it was just one thing that’s caused it. You know, I think, you know, like coach said, we, our effort, you know, you can’t question our effort. Our effort was at a high level tonight. It was a point we were up 10…but I think we could’ve played smarter down the stretch, not only offensively but on the defensive end. You know, a couple balls didn’t bounce our way, but that’s how the game goes.
** Burke on what happened with his neck
I kinda, it’s like a, I think it’s like a pinched nerve. You know, I kinda, w–like a whiplash. I turned my neck a little too fast, and my, pretty much, like, my whole back of my neck went numb, and you know, I didn’t really, I kinda got scared, to be honest. So I just tried to call timeout. It started feeling, it star–it went away immediately, so it was kinda weird.
** Joe Ingles, asked why the Jazz have given up two straight big fourth quarters
I don’t know. We probably would have fixed it if we knew. I mean, just little things. I mean, [Damian] Lillard went super aggressive there a few times in the last few minutes, and we didn’t kind of have each other’s backs the way we have in the past.
Bizarre Injury #2
Random Stuff, etc.
** People calling Damian Lillard “Damon”: Ron Boone
** Did the Burkcourt coordinate their outfits?
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night (UDQM)
** Joe Ingles on the Jazz’s recent losses: It’s disappointing when you know you can do it and you’ve done it for so long, and then you come out, and obviously you don’t do it.
** Ron Boone on Rudy Gobert’s “screen” on Dante Exum: You’re supposed to rub as close as you can to your teammate…
Craig Bolerjack: That’s more than a rub.
Booner: This is more than a rub, you know? (H/T @dianaallen)
** Quin Snyder on Derrick Favors, post-game: It wasn’t like he just said, “Hey, Gordon’s out, you know, here I come.”
Red denotes most recent game.
Thanks to @OhioHadley and @davidjsmith1232 for the assist on the W-L record tonight.