Jazz Misfire Against Philadelphia in a 104-97 Loss

November 8th, 2017 | by Allen Reihman

Melissa Majchrzak via utahjaz.com

Ghosts from the 2017 Utah Lego convention were reanimated in Vivint Smart Home Arena, as the Jazz laid brick upon brick, shooting 30 percent from the field. It was the worst shooting night by the Jazz in nearly four years, and a mark comparable to MLB’s infamous Mendoza Line.

Ricky Rubio started 0-for-5 as the Sixers gleefully allowed him open long jumpers. Maintenance crews should inspect the rim after the assault from Rubio’s low trajectory missiles. Donovan Mitchell gave us his best Kobe imitation, but, regrettably, it was the 2016 version of Kobe, with historically low efficiency and hero ball. After his 3-for-21 shooting night, Spida now needs only 14,382 misses to catch the Black Mamba’s all-time record.

Rodney Hood was aggressive and earned 10 free throws, making 9 but missing his first of the season and relinquishing his league-leading percentage from the stripe. Yet he inexplicably passed up two chip shots and converted them into long jumpers. Even sharpshooting Joe Ingles was tentative and hesitated shooting open threes, finishing the day 3-for-10 from behind the arc.

But more important than their offensive woes, in a game where they had hoped to regain their defensive mojo, the Jazz were unfocused and disconnected. Communication problems were evident throughout the game. Hustle points went to the Sixers. And back cuts exposed the Jazz’s welcoming “open back door” policy.

While the Jazz closed the gap to end the half and again to end the game, this game never felt close, despite a foul-happy and turnover-prone young Sixers team. This game was all-around ugly and painful to watch.

The Jazz lack of offensive firepower is a given. They aspire to be an average offense and an elite defense. If this happens, they likely make the playoffs. With the lack of effort and focus on display last night, this outcome is in doubt. The Jazz season is at an inflection point, and either Quin figures out what strings to pull or a season of mediocrity may soon become inevitable.

Miscellaneous

  • The Jazz’s woes were only surpassed by those of Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia’s former No. 3 overall pick. His body was present, but his brain was elsewhere, playing perhaps the worst 3 minutes in NBA history. Entering the game and lining up to rebound free throws, he first desperately tried to fix something wrong with his shorts. He then tossed two bricks, committed three fouls, one turnover and a lane violation. Get your passport ready, Jahlil, and say hello to European basketball.
  • The NBA’s sports-science-driven resting trend meant that Sixers and Jazz fans missed an opportunity to see an elite match-up between Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert. A healthy Embiid, with continued development, should become a perennial MVP candidate, everything Rudy is on defense and a much more potent and versatile offensive weapon. The results of an all-in tank produced Embiid and Ben Simmons. Would Jazz fans trade 4 years of historically awful basketball for two players with potentially generational talent? Would the Jazz financially survive a prolonged tank?
  • How much more patience will Jazz coach Quin Snyder have with reserve guard Alec Burks? What is the over/under on number of games until Royce O’Neale gets the role of fourth wing? My bet is sooner rather than later, as the Jazz have little room for error, even in the form of 10-15 subpar wing minutes.

Allen Reihman

Allen Reihman is a father of two Jazz fans, chemical engineer, business development director, and long-time Jazz fan. He believes that our brains frequently lie to us, and logical analysis can expose cognitive biases and enhance our intuition about the Jazz, the NBA and the world.

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