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SALT LAKE CITY — With their 98-87 loss to the Golden State Warriors Monday night, the Utah Jazz are now 1-11 and they are still trying to find themselves.
More often than not, a team can learn more from a loss than a win, and the Jazz have a lot to learn, namely stopping opponent runs, rebounding and shooting.
The Jazz were in the game in the first quarter, but the Warriors went on a 33-12 run in the second and the Jazz couldn't answer.
The Jazz have to learn how to stop runs like this. They have given up a 30-point quarter in every loss since the second game of the season, and this game was no exception.
The Warriors went from 26-24 lead minutes into the second to 59-36 advantage at the half. Golden State's 37-17 second quarter all but buried the Jazz.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin used different line-ups in an attempt to stop the run and spark some offense, but nothing worked in the first half.
“You have to go through it. We have to keep doing it,” Corbin said. “We have to play aggressive and that's learning, and we'll continue to work on that and talk to the guys on that and watch film.”
In the third quarter, the Jazz outscored the Warriors, 29-19, by being aggressive and playing defense.
“We got stops defensively,” Utah's Gordon Hayward said. “We were able to run a little bit. We got some steals.”
In addition, the Jazz also have to learn to rebound.
Coming into the season it seemed like rebounding would be the one area the Jazz would have locked down. Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors had huge games in limited time, but they have had bad stretches and been outrebounded in losses.
You have to go through it. We have to keep doing it. We have to play aggressive and that's learning, and we'll continue to work on that and talk to the guys on that and watch film.
The Warriors are an outside shooting team. While they were cold in the first quarter, they grabbed offensive rebounds that led to second-chance points. The Warriors had 14 offensive rebounds in the game and finished with 17 more total rebounds.
Both teams hit the same number of shots (32), but three-point shooting and the ability to grab rebounds led to the Golden State victory.
“It just shows we need to get more rebounds,” Favors said. “They got a couple of rebounds that we should have got. We just go to learn to get the rebounds.”
This game wasn't as close as the final score because the Warriors were forced to put their starters back in to finish the game. The 11-point margin isn't much, especially if the Jazz could make up the difference in rebounding.
Four more rebounds — two offensive and two defensive — could have meant at least an eight-point swing for the Jazz.
Also, the Jazz couldn't hit shots during the Warriors' run, but Utah eventually began to connect when it cut into the Golden State lead. Utah's starters went just 16-of-51, while the bench went 16-for-30.
This could be on Corbin to continue making lineup changes; the other coaches to make sure the players are fundamentally sound, or just on the players to do what they get paid to do — hit shots.
As simple as it is, if the Jazz can't find a way to put the ball in the hoop on a consistent basis then defense won't matter.
The Jazz need to establish an identity. They really want to be a strong team built from the inside out with a strong defense. Right now, they are a team that requires big shots from different players.
Without an identity, they can't fall back on anything. They become wildly inconsistent and search for answers instead of doing what they do best.
This falls on everyone. If Hayward is the leader and the go-to player, he can't disappear in some quarters like he has done. He scored 12 in the first quarter against the Warriors and ended with 18.
Favors had 10 points and seven rebounds, while Kanter went 4-of-12 from the field for eight points and six rebounds.
Richard Jefferson went 2-of-9 from the field and didn't add much else on the stat sheet.
Alec Burks hasn't found his shot early in the year. Going from the sixth man to the starting point guard hasn't given him time to settle into anything, but he needs to become whatever he is for the Jazz to succeed.
Does Diante Garrett become the new starting point guard and the heart of the team? Is Marvin Williams better served as a starter with his shooting numbers from outside? Should Ian Clark get some run, or Rudy Gobert?
Who are the Jazz? No matter what the Jazz's long-term plans are they need to find out who they are or they will find themselves rebuilding for years instead for just a season.