Dallas • Fifty.
The Jazz somehow lost to the Dallas Mavericks by 50 points by a final score of 118-68 on Wednesday night. It’s the second-worst loss in Jazz franchise history — they lost by 56 in 1979 to Milwaukee, before the team moved to Utah the following season.
The entire second half was an abomination of basketball effort from the Jazz. At first, a third-quarter in which the Jazz lost by a margin of 26-13 looked pretty bad. But unsatisfied with the horrific play the Jazz showed in that period, they then got outscored 34-9 in the fourth.
“There was a point where we stopped competing,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We all have to own that and obviously the scoreboard represented it.”
Early on, things were somewhat better. In the first half, it was a matter of simple math — the Mavs couldn’t miss their shots, shooting 59 percent overall and 57 percent from the 3-point line, while the Jazz couldn’t hit theirs. For the most part, the Jazz got the shots they wanted early, just didn’t knock them down.
Remarkably, it got worse. On anything that wasn’t a layup or a dunk, the Jazz were frankly a mess on Wednesday night. They finished shooting 9 of 56 on anything outside of the restricted area, a figure that would earn you a loss in a Jr. Jazz game, let alone one in the best league in the world.
The result of this was a Jazz team that was scared to attack. Maybe the most remarkable stat of the game — and there are many eye-popping numbers in this one — was the Jazz scoring only three points from the 20 Dallas turnovers. The Jazz would have an advantage, and then just decide not to use it. When they did, they somehow bungled the layup or missed the open shot that resulted.
Every single player contributed to the loss. Maybe the most promising play of the night was from Derrick Favors, who ended up with a relatively minor minus-5 in plus-minus for the game. But he ended up picking up a flagrant foul after shoving J.J. Barea into the second row on a fast break. On the other hand, the scuffle that resulted was the most fight the Jazz showed in the second half.
The Jazz’s high scorer was Ricky Rubio, who had only 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting. Rubio shot poorly early and then became more and more reluctant to shoot, in turn causing turnovers and generally ugly defensive play. Donovan Mitchell matched Rubio’s shooting effort (3 of 9), but scored one fewer point while committing one more turnover, five to Rubio’s four.
“We just didn’t play with a lot of pride defensively,” Mitchell said. “Obviously, when shots aren’t falling, our defense has to drive us even more.”
Joe Ingles, the hero of Utah’s last two games, scored only eight, and while Rudy Gobert somehow managed a double-double, it was the ugliest one possible: 10 points, 10 rebounds, and being outscored by 20 in the 25 minutes he was on the court.
And the starters' effort was Herculean in comparison to the bench lineup, which turned garbage time into a dumpster fire. Somehow, the Jazz’s bench was outscored by 25 in the game’s final quarter as the Jazz simply let go of the rope.
“They outplayed us in every lineup and every guy we got up on the court against,” Gobert said.
It was a record-setting night in the worst possible ways. Besides the worst loss in Utah Jazz history, 68 points was a season low for any team in this NBA season. Before this, no team had scored less than 80 this year. Utah’s 22 points in the second half were a Dallas record low for opponent points scored in a half, and finished two points shy of a Jazz record low: they scored only 20 in a first half as an expansion franchise in New Orleans.
Gobert summed it up: “We simply got outplayed from the first to last minute. Everything negative that could have happened on the court was happening tonight.”