SALT LAKE CITY — Just when the Utah Jazz take a couple of steps forward, they take a couple of steps back. It’s happened all season, and it happened again over the past week.
There was a bunch of renewed optimism in Jazzland when Utah won a pair of blowout victories at home over the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets, beating those Western Conference teams by 34 and 27 points, respectively, last week.
That got the Jazz back to .500 at 13-13 and within shouting distance of the final playoff position in the West. Then they went out on the road, where they’ve had more success than at home this year.
And that’s when the Jazz went backward.
They lost to a couple of teams, the Spurs, who while not as good as recent years are still a formidable squad, and Oklahoma City, which has retooled a team still led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George and that has the top record in the Western Conference standings.
Although it might look like the Jazz were competitive on the two-game road trip, losing by 13 to the Spurs and nine points to the Thunder, they really weren’t.
First-half runs of 17-0 and 12-0 by San Antonio left the Jazz well behind, and they trailed by as many as 21 points late in the game before making a late run.
At OKC, the Jazz fell behind 6-0 before most fans had settled into their seats, and they were down by double digits for most of the game. In fact, they trailed by 29 points with 10 minutes left, before Ekpe Udoh led a Jazz rally over the final minutes to make the score look respectable.
The latest loss left coach Quin Snyder looking for answers — again. He had warned before that game that his team must limit turnovers, which they didn’t (20) and not fall behind early, which they did.
“You put yourself behind the eight-ball and you either have to be lucky or perfect to get back in the game and win it,” he said afterward. “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t execute, is what it came down to. It was the little things all over, and we’ve got to have more focus on them and just have to continue to work on them and try to get them more habitual or consistent, because those little things add up.”
Now the Jazz have a chance to improve their 4-6 home record when they take on Miami Wednesday night at Vivint Arena. Then it’s right back on the road for games against Orlando in Mexico City on Saturday night and at Houston Monday night.
After games against Golden State on Dec. 19 and at Portland on Dec. 21, the Jazz will finally get an extended homestand with four games — their longest of the season so far — between Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, before heading back on the road for another four-game road trip to the Midwest.1 comment on this story
JAZZ NOTES: After starting off 8 for 15 from 3-point range in his first three games with the Jazz, Kyle Korver is just 2 for 12 in his last three games. … As a team, the Jazz are 26th in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 33.2 percent. … The Jazz played the Heat in Miami last week, losing by two points on a late shot by Dwyane Wade. … The Heat are in the middle of a six-game road trip, having won at Phoenix and Los Angeles against the Clippers before losing to the Lakers 108-105 Monday night. … The Heat are 11-15 and led by Josh Richardson at 18.8 points per game, followed by Goran Dragic at 15.3 ppg and Wade at 14.9 ppg. Hassan Whiteside averages 13.5 ppg and 13.7 rebounds per game, which is second best in the league. He also leads the NBA in blocked shots at 2.91.