After falling behind 14-4 in the first quarter, the Jazz closed the period on a 17-2 run thanks, in part, to a four-block performance by Derrick Favors. They led through the second quarter, were tied twice in third and were eclipsed only in the fourth.
In overtime, though, they ran out of steam.
Mo Williams made a 3-pointer with 3:16 left to tie the game at 95, but the Jazz sputtered. They didn’t score another field goal and were outscored 9-2 the rest of the way.
A season has turned into a sympathy tour. When the year ends, with or without the playoffs, players will scatter and some won’t come back. Free agency guarantees that.
Where are they emotionally? Mentally? Earlier Friday, coach Tyrone Corbin said he feared free agency had played a role in his team’s late-season malaise. Even in a loss, the Jazz told those questions to take a break.
“You feel sorry for yourself,” Corbin said, “but at some point you’ve got to step up and just fight. I thought we showed a lot of that tonight.”
After recent games, Corbin had directed pointed comments at his team. Effort was suspect. Defense, too. On Friday, those were the very things that kept the Jazz in the game.
“If we play this way every night against everybody,” Corbin said. “We’ll be OK. That’s what we’re looking for to get the effort.”
The Jazz opened up a 10-point lead in the second quarter, but were outscored 9-2 in the final 3:41 before halftime.
Each time the Spurs made a run, though, the Jazz had an answer. In the third quarter, the Spurs tied the game at 49, but Jefferson answered with a jump shot. The score was once again knotted at 60 after a Boris Diaw layup, but Alec Burks made a jumper on the following possession.
The Spurs took their first lead of the second half on a basket by Kawhi Leonard with 10:04 remaining, and the Jazz answered with back-to-back steals that led to dunks by Favors and Burks.
The Jazz have not won on the road since Feb. 13, a stretch of eight games. They have gone from five games up on the Lakers for the eighth seed in the West, to trailing now by multiple games.« Previous Page Next Page »