Scenario: A house burns down. The fire marshal is called to the scene to investigate what happened. After going through all the rooms in the empty-shell of a structure, the marshal files his report.
Under “Official cause of damage,” he writes:
A clogged flue in the chimney caused the lit fireplace to spread into the living room, where the 40-year-old synthetic shag carpet — which was inexplicably doused with accelerant — went up in flames and spread across the main floor.
The upstairs bathroom, whose unfinished fiber glass tub was packed with gasoline-filled balloons, lit up when a curling iron from the ‘80s — which had been plugged in for 73 straight days — caused a small electrical fire that spit sparks into the hazardous tub area, which combusted and blew the roof off the house.
In the basement, a small space heater fell from a balsa wood cabinet and into an open kiddie pool of diesel fuel, which caused a fireball to blow up through all three floors of the residence.
So that’s kind of how the Jazz’s night went against the Clippers on Monday.
Before the Jazz’s 88-72 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers tonight at Vivint Smart Home Arena, head coach Quin Snyder called tonight’s matchup a “barometer” for the team — a moment for everyone to evaluate their performance. After a brutal Celtics game in which the Jazz never led, it made sense that Snyder wanted to see his team get up for a Clipper opponent who is missing their starting point guard in Chris Paul, whose starting center arguably usurped an All-Star roster spot from Rudy Gobert, and who was only trailing the Jazz by half a game for sole possession of the Western Conference’s fourth seed.
If a barometer measures pressure, Utah collapsed under the weight of it tonight, shooting 32.2% from the floor and 17.4% from 3-point range. They only made 12-18 free throws (66.7%) and the team’s leading scorer Gordon Hayward — whose had a slew of impressive 30+ point showings in recent competitions — went 2-12 for 7 points. It was only the fifth time this season Gordon failed to shoot his way to double digits. (Hayward’s had seven 30+ point games, fyi.)
Snyder was not happy.
“We’re a team that… can talk about being better and being relevant, but at this point we’re relevant. But no more than that. You feel that tonight,” he said. “If there’s something that we held back, it shouldn’t have been tonight.”
Just like a father who’s been let down (been there), Snyder added, “I’m disappointed.”
Derrick Favors led the Jazz in scoring, but only put up 13 in his 23 minute stint. Dante Exum (10) and Rudy Gobert (13) were the only other Jazzmen to score double digits.
The Clippers, on the other hand, were led by a do-it-all Blake Griffin, who was recently named the Western Conference player of the month. Griff had 26 on 11-18 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots.
Snyder said that the Clippers’ defense greatly outweighed the offensive effort that his guys put out Monday.
“I think [the Clippers are] a good defensive team and they had a lot more resolve in their defensive end than we did on our offensive end,” Snyder said. “Sometimes, if we were to make a couple shots it would’ve masked the fact that we didn’t have any toughness on the offensive end.”
To recap: Disappointed — check. Said the team lacked toughness — check.
“Tonight we showed what a bad team looks like when you’re not ready to play, when you’re not tough enough mentally to play,” Coach added.
When Hayward was asked what went wrong offensively, he let the team’s 59 missed shots do the talking.
“We missed shots. Pretty simple.”
Here’s what those misses looked like, btw.
At least it’s festive? Wait, hold on.
That makes me a little less sad.
“I don’t know if it was one of those nights, but we didn’t play with force,” Rudy Gobert said. “We looked kind of nervous offensively. We looked like we weren’t moving the ball like we used to or having fun like we used to and then we got down pretty quick.”
The 3s weren’t going down, and the scoring disparity kept getting bigger and bigger. Remember? 4-23?
“…If we knock down some of those 3s, we’re down six or seven and not double digits like tonight and it doesn’t get away from us. I think hopefully we regroup here [and play] one more game before the break,” Hayward said.
On the “Really, REALLY didn’t play well” front, George Hill went 2-11 and was a whopping -31 in 26 minutes. There’s a chance he’s not right and I won’t be surprised if he sits out the Portland game. Trey Lyles went 0-9 in 13 minutes and Alec was 3-8, had three turnovers and looked like he was operating totally outside of the offense. But yeah, no one played well.
At least it was in line with the Chainsmokers lyrics in “Paris” that DJ Juggy blasted through the Viv as the players and any remaining fans trickled towards the exits:
“If we go down, then we go down together.”
The Jazz have a chance to leave a good taste in their mouth before All-Star break and avoid a four-game losing skid when they play the Blazers Wednesday night at home.