1. Shot luck hurt the Jazz tonight in the final minute.
It’s funny: the Jazz have had 3 buzzer-beating opportunities this far in the season, and the best look of the three was probably tonight’s Hayward 3 point shot. Of course, this one missed, and the other two shots, ridiculous do-or-die fadeaways with defenders tightly guarding, went in. Such is life in the NBA. People around the league refer to this as “shot luck”, or simply by lamenting “it’s a make or miss league”.
Indeed, Utah had 3 chances to take or expand the lead in the final minute that they missed, and all were good looks, especially given the situation:
This stuff hurts: any one of those shots would have probably won the game for the Jazz. As Quin Snyder said after the game about the final look, “I felt like we got what we wanted. We just didn’t make that one, you know?”
2. Again, the Jazz were hurt by a slow start.
Sometimes, it seems like the Jazz haven’t figured out their identity until their coach their backs are against the wall. Again, after letting the Pelicans get an 18 point lead in the 1st half, the Warriors a 16 point lead in the 1st quarter, the Thunder a 17 point lead after 18 minutes in their last 3 games, the Bulls had a 21 point lead midway through the 2nd quarter. When the deficit gets that big that fast, both offense and defense are at fault, and they were tonight.
Offensively, the Jazz were neither taking care of the ball, nor were they taking their types of shots. It took 7 minutes and 24 seconds for the Jazz to take their first shot from inside the restricted-area or outside the three point line; instead, the starting lineup seemed content to take long twos, awkward floaters, and turn the ball over repeatedly. It was ugly.
On the other side of the court, the Bulls could seemingly get whatever they wanted. Even taking away their 10 first half fast break points, they still shot 16/29 from the field, including 6/10 from 3 and getting to the line 13 times. In comparison to the Jazz, who took 23 mid-range shots in the 1st half, the Bulls took just 9.
Snyder, Hayward, and Burke all talked about “intensity” and “competing” as the reason for the slow starts, and I think that is some of it, especially on the defensive end. But sometimes, it also just seems like the team forgets what it’s good at on offense.
Or, here’s another side theory: the Jazz’s base offense, at this point, is pretty predictable: the initial swinging the ball from side to side, the screen to get the ball handler free to then run another pick and roll, etc. Anybody who’s watched several Utah games recognizes it. What if coaches are instructing their defenses well enough that they’re able to stop the base offense until Quin’s able to make sizable adjustments in timeouts? Tonight, for example,, Jimmy Butler stole the ball during the Jazz’s first 2 plays of the game in nearly identical fashion, both times on that simple swing pass. Is that just happening on a smaller scale against these other teams? It’s food for thought.
3. Jingles has somehow become the Jazz’s first bench option
For a guy who was signed without playing any training camp minutes with the Jazz, Jingles2 has somehow become the Jazz’s first substitution off the bench. While he still trails Trevor Booker and Dante Exum in minutes overall, Jingles’ has gotten more minutes than any other bench player recently. Tonight, he played a career high 26:45, shot 5-9 from the floor, and even managed to draw a technical foul against Jimmy Butler after Butler took exception to the way Jingles prevented him from coming open during a baseline cut.
It’s kind of madness, actually. Matt Pacenza covered him in an article earlier today for Salt City Hoops, and pointed out what an unusual player Jingles is.3 Somehow, his defense has been great: while Jimmy Butler scored 25 points tonight, Ingles allowed him to score just two points while guarding him in the second half. Remember, defense was a big worry in Ingles’ scouting report, somehow he’s made himself into a tough, hardnosed defender on the ball.
Offensively, he’s probably not doing enough: he’s only using 9.2% of possessions when he’s on the floor coming into tonight’s game, and over one-fifth of his total plays are turnovers. But he spaces the floor reasonably effectively, and makes relatively smart plays with the ball. It will be interesting to see how Jingles’ playing time is affected by Rodney Hood’s eventual return from injury.