by Kimya Oliver
The Crossover: Utah Jazz by the Numbers
The Jazz started the game scoreless for the first five minutes. Bojan Bogdanovic drove to the basket for the hook shot to get the offense started. The Suns gained a 22-12 lead with less than five minutes to play in the quarter. The first quarter ended with the Jazz trailing 30-24.
Mike Conley threw it ahead to Juancho Hernangomez for the fast break dunk. The Jazz began to gain offensive momentum with Conley hitting a shot from downtown to give the Jazz a five-point lead. The Jazz lead continued as they closed the second quarter leading 57-54.
Donovan Mitchell grabbed the defensive rebound and pulled up from inside the arc on the other end to get the offense going in the third quarter. The Jazz opened the third quarter on an 11-4 run. The Jazz continued to get easy layups, pull up from deep, and get to the charity stripe. The Jazz closed the third quarter leading 92-75.
Hassan Whiteside made a slam dunk to begin the final quarter of play. The Jazz could not find the bottom of the net besides when going to the free-throw line while the Suns were finding good looks inside the arc. The Suns completed the comeback and set up an interesting final weekend of the regular season.
The Daily Double-Double
Mitchell finished the night with 18 points and Gobert finished with the lone double-double for the Jazz of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Deandre Anton notched one for the Suns with 19 points and 10 rebounds of his own.
The fourth quarter was a disaster for the Jazz. When the third quarter ended the Jazz led by 17 points and got outscored by 23 points in the final frame. The Jazz can not allow teams to go on long scoring runs or allow them to double the points they put up in one quarter. This game reminds me of when, for a short period, the Jazz consistently struggled to close out a game despite them holding a lead through the first three quarters. This can not happen in the playoffs.
I would hate to see the Jazz be a first-round team that gets eliminated. This is the third time in the last six games where the Jazz have lost a 16-point lead or greater in the fourth quarter. The Jazz shot 15 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter and the Suns shot 67 percent. The Jazz only made one shot from beyond the arc.
I feel like when the Jazz had their lead in the third quarter, they got comfortable. When the Suns began to gain offensive momentum, the Jazz could not stop them. The Suns are the defending Western Conference Champions, so I do not understand why the Jazz would even think to sit back in the final quarter as if the game was over. The Jazz were either forcing three-pointers or turning the ball over. If someone is open for three take the shot, but if the team is cold from deep then try and get the ball down low for easy points.
The Jazz and the Denver Nuggets now have the same record of 48-33. Both teams will play on Sunday. If the Jazz defeats the Portland Trail Blazers and the Nuggets lose, the Jazz will play the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. If the Nuggets win and the Jazz lose then the Jazz will drop down to No. 6 and will face the Golden State Warriors. I would rather the Jazz play the Dallas Mavericks because the Warriors are a far much better team than them. The Jazz will only have to worry about Luca Doncic, but the Jazz will need to contain Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson and attempt to stop Stephen Curry on the Warriors.
Bounce Pass: Up Next
The Jazz will be facing the Portland TrailBlazers in the final game of the regular season on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. MST.
Featured image courtesy Laura Seitz, Deseret News