The Weekly Run: Time for the Jazz to stop ‘showing two faces’

Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder (99) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

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One night the Jazz are beating Memphis, the next they’re getting blown out in Dallas. They’re beating full-strength Boston, then falling apart against short-handed Indiana.

They’re as frustrated about it as fans are.

“We’ve been showing two faces this season, and we’re being up and down most of the time,” point guard Ricky Rubio conceded at Wednesday’s shootaround at Zions Bank Basketball Center. “We have to show our game face. I know it’s hard, but we have to bring it every night.”

Like seemingly everyone else associated with the team, he preached better “consistency” as the answer to the team’s woes.

He also preached patience to those who are fed up with the rollercoaster ride, and vowed that progress is being made, appearances to the contrary or not.

Last year, people forget, we didn’t start well, either. It takes time. It’s not gonna be like we pick it up like we left [it] last year,” Rubio said. “… We’re gonna get better from October to November, and November to December, and as the season goes on. I think we got better from last month, and we’re getting better for next month.”

Week in review

• After the completion of the road trip, I took a look at how the same team that finally knocked off Memphis and got a win in Boston could also lose by 50 to the Mavs and by 27 to the Pacers. The Jazz’s consensus: “We should bring it every night.” [TRIB]

• We all knew defenses would adjust how they were guarding Donovan Mitchell this year, and that he’d have to adjust to their adjustments. Clearly, the early results have have been mixed. Andy Larsen breaks down exactly what Donovan is doing. [TRIB]

• The Jazz got an early look at the Sixers with newly acquired Jimmy Butler. On the one hand, he had a huge game. On the other, he immediately threw shade at his ex-teammates. I wrote a column wondering whether the trade will be worth it for Philly, whether the man’s talent can compensate for a personality that’s already torn apart two locker rooms. [TRIB]

• Speaking of that Sixers game, it was the first meeting between Donovan and Philly’s Ben Simmons since they waged a highly-publicized Rookie of the Year campaign against one another to end last season. [TRIB]

• Nobody saw that decimation in Dallas coming. Then again, the loss merely revealed what had actually been apparent all along: the Jazz are not playing as well at the start of this season as they were at the end of last season. It forced the team to increase its urgency in finding the answers why. [TRIB]

Other voices

• It’s been a tumultuous year for Jae Crowder. The death of his mother. His trade from Boston to Cleveland. His failure to fit in there. His trade from Cleveland to Utah. Now, though, he told Aaron Falk, a feature writer for utahjazz.com, “I feel like I’m meant to be playing for this organization.” [Utah Jazz]

• Jazz fans are still a bit salty about how Gordon Hayward left, so getting two wins in a week over him and the Celtics was cathartic. The icing on the cake, though, veteran Utah sports writer Jim Burton wrote for Forbes, was Donovan getting a chase-down block on a would-be Hayward dunk attempt. [Forbes]

• Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News, who covered the recent road trip, also did a postmortem of the team’s 2-3 stretch. [Des News]

• Andy wrote about Donovan getting a chance to see his younger sister’s soccer team play. Donovan, as usual, took to social media to chronicle the event. [Twitter]

• Meanwhile, here’s a cool time-lapse photo of the latest Jazz-themed mural going up, and another story from former @tribjazz extraordinaire Aaron Falk about it. [Utah Jazz]

Quote of the week

In Monday night’s blowout loss to the Pacers, the Jazz appeared a step slow throughout. It was suggested to Rudy Gobert postgame that perhaps the team was simply tired, as it was the fifth game of a five-game road trip. But Gobert wasn’t having any of it:

“People are gonna talk about fatigue, but I think it’s a mindset. Some nights you’re not gonna have as much juice as other nights, but you gotta bring it and focus on the right things. If we start the game more physical, maybe we don’t get down 20 in the first quarter and maybe they don’t get as much confidence as they had through the game.”

— Rudy Gobert

Up next

First things first, the Jazz make their long-awaited return to Vivint Smart Home Arena tonight, where they will take on the Sacramento Kings. After that, though, it’s right back out on the road for a two-game swing through California. Utah will get its first look at the LeBron James-led Lakers this Friday, then will be in Sacramento on Sunday for yet another matchup with the Kings. The Jazz will fly home right afterward because they’ve got the second half of a back-to-back on Monday night against the Pacers at VSHA. Then, one week from today, they’ve got the opener of a three-game road trip, which kicks off in Brooklyn against the Nets.