Ty Corbin looked like he was out of answers.
For one half, Utah’s coach watched his offense sing. There was ball movement. There were made shots. The Jazz got out and finished in transition. They were efficient and balanced.
And then? Nothing. In a 12-minute span — the third quarter — it all stopped against the New York Knicks. Not surprisingly, it served as the impetus to a 92-83 loss on Monday night before 18,653 at EnergySolutions Arena.
The third quarter. That’s how quickly the bottom can fall out in the NBA.
"We just missed shots, man," Corbin said. "We were right there at 67-67 and then we missed two free-throws. We turned the ball over a few times. This has happened to us the last few games. We hit that little lull, and that turns out to be the difference of the game."
Indeed, it did on Monday. It hurts when a team like the Jazz can score only 20 points in a period. That hurt compounds when the other team has Carmelo Anthony. The ineptitude offensively magnified with New York’s ability to make Utah pay on the other end.
While the Jazz struggled, the Knicks thrived. While the Jazz stalled, the Knicks accelerated, scoring 31 points of their own and taking full control. By the time the quarter ended, a 49-48 Jazz halftime lead turned into a 79-69 deficit.
Utah never seriously threatened again.
"It’s very frustrating," Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said. "We just missed a lot of shots. We turned the ball over and we didn’t get back on defense. For whatever reason we didn’t figure out the way they were guarding out plays."
The Jazz not being able to score is alarming. The Jazz not being able to match New York’s intensity in the last six minutes of the third quarter is also a major cause for concern.
Following Utah’s only second-half run, the Knicks began pressuring the ball more. They contested passes and made life more difficult for the Jazz guards. That fueled the 12-2 run to end the third quarter. Utah couldn’t get good shots, couldn’t muster good looks at the basket. They turned the ball over four out of five times, and the Knicks made culminated fast breaks with layups and dunks.
It was the most telling part of the game. The Jazz were challenged. The Jazz failed.
"We didn’t make plays," Corbin said. "We won the rebound battle, but they made shots and we couldn’t score in the last three or four minutes of the third quarter."
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