SALT LAKE CITY — Three thoughts on the Utah Jazz's 84-74 loss to the Miami Heat from KSL.com's Utah Jazz beat writer, Andy Larsen.
1. The Jazz made four baskets in the second half
That's your headline. The Jazz, ostensibly a professional basketball team, made four field goals in the second half of tonight's game. Four shots out of 33, or 12.1 percent.
As you'd expect when you shoot literally 4-of-33, nobody was good. Rodney Hood was 0-10 from the field (though made up for it somewhat by attacking the rim and getting to the line for eight free throw attempts). Donovan Mitchell was 0-5. Joe Ingles was 1-5 and turned down numerous good looks. Alec Burks was 1-5 as well.
Somehow, they did manage to get to the line 19 times overall, and it seemed like it was partially because the referees were bailing them out with calls just to avoid the Jazz having one of the worst quarters of all time.
The third quarter was the worst part because the Jazz scored three points through 10:47 of the third quarter. Three points! They made only one shot all quarter long! I don't know what to do except present you with these facts because they are extraordinary.
Let's tell the anecdotal side of 4-of-33. Quin Snyder called a timeout with 9:45 left in the third quarter when his team had only just missed three shots in a row. During that timeout, Snyder yelled colorfully at his players. Rudy Gobert reports that Snyder said "Get your (expletive) together," but I also definitely saw him use other phrases going into the timeout.
After that, it got worse. The early timeout meant that the Jazz didn't have any timeouts when they missed 14 shots in a row later on in the quarter.
Speaking of 14, the Jazz missed all 14 of their 3-point shots in the second half. You can watch them all here.
The Jazz went 0-14 from the 3-point line tonight. They were nearly all open. Most were wide open. pic.twitter.com/jWXEyNEqWH— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) November 11, 2017
All of them are open. Nearly all of them are wide, wide open, with no player within 15 feet. I don't know what to say. They should be making these shots, they practice these every day, and they make like 50-60 percent of them. In this half, they made zero.
2. The starting lineup change worked pretty well
The second half was unfortunate because it ruined a really good start by the Jazz. Part of that start, I felt, was because of the starting lineup change made by Snyder tonight, putting in Donovan Mitchell instead of Rodney Hood to begin the game.
Mitchell opened with the game's first four points, and the Jazz had 6-2, 12-8, and 16-11 leads early. Then, Rodney Hood came in with about 6:44 left in the first quarter and made 3-5 in the first and 2-4 in the second. That's just how the Jazz envisioned it playing out.
The more impressive part was the defense, which has to be commended. They only allowed the Heat to score 87 points per 100 possessions, and they forced 21 Heat turnovers. That's great defense, and they fixed nearly all of the problems that the team faced in Philadelphia.
I do think it was impressive how both players reacted to the lineup change. "I'm a team guy. I've always been a team guy," Hood said. "We need a win, so it's not really about anyone individually right now." He was more visibly disappointed when we saw him begin warmups for before the game, but that's a good response from Hood.
And Mitchell didn't really consider it an honor but did consider how playing with the starters might change his offensive role.
"The shots I've been taking, that's not who I am. I'm willing to pass. I haven't hit Rudy on a roll to the basket once this year.
"In college it's easy: a guy that's 6-foot-8 can't really jump that high, but you get a guy like Whiteside, you can't throw it over. I have to be able to see what's around me and not just see what's in front of me."
3. Ricky Rubio isn't good right now
After the Portland game where Ricky Rubio won the contest with 30 points, including 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, Rubio has been a really bad player.
I'll give him this: he's been good at creating steals and deflections with some active hands and some good gambles at times.
But man, he's been horrendous everywhere else. He can't make a shot and teams are giving him acres of space. He can't find Gobert at all, ever. Some of that is because teams are giving Gobert extra attention, but then Rubio has to find the guys who are open as a result.
Rubio's timing is incredibly off. His teammates aren't expecting his passes, and it's not really because they're doing the wrong thing. Rubio is either passing way too soon or way too late, or even way off target, causing turnovers for himself and others. Friday night, he had five and only had two assists.
This just isn't who Rubio is as a player. Look at Rubio's other high-turnover games throughout his career: he usually makes up for it somewhat with high assist numbers. That hasn't been the case during this stretch.
What's the answer? I have no idea. But if Rubio is one of the worst players in the league, the Jazz just don't have any chance. They probably have too much invested in the Rubio experiment, though, and have to give him more than 12 games to figure himself out.
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