Everything the Utah Jazz said went wrong in their latest Lakers loss

After their second unbelievable defeat to L.A. in a matter of weeks, the Jazz had plenty to discuss afterward regarding the mistakes they made.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, watches along with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert as his three-point shot goes in during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 106-101. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Utah Jazz went into Wednesday’s game in Los Angeles on a six-game winning streak and full of optimism that, after a season of wild ups and downs, they were finally on a good path.

And then they blew a 12-point lead in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, to lose to a mediocre Lakers team for the second time in a span of weeks. And just like that, their tone was different postgame.

“There’s no way we should have lost this game,” a clearly peeved Donovan Mitchell said. “Credit to them — you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due. But we let this game slip.”

Coach Quin Snyder didn’t want one bad loss to overshadow all the progress his team had made of late, but he acknowledged it was difficult not to view it that way in the wake of a high-profile meltdown in their pre-All-Star break finale.

“Prior to this game, we felt like we’re getting better. I still believe that’s the case,” he said. “There are things we’ll look back on in tonight’s game and be able to pinpoint. It’s an unfortunate way to go into the All-Star break, because we felt good about the way we were playing. And then we didn’t. And then we lost the game.”

Speaking of pinpointing specifics, as Snyder, Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Royce O’Neale addressed the media from Crypto.com Arena, several consistent themes kept cropping up. Here’s what they touched on in their postgame comments as the most critical issues:

Turnovers and transition defense

Snyder: “I thought we didn’t take care of the ball at a point when we were in control of the game. That happened a lot of different ways — just getting careless at times. From a defensive standpoint, it’s tough to defend against turnovers in transition, particularly against them. You get LeBron going full speed at the basket, there’s not much you can do. Our offense hurt our defense.”

O’Neale: “I had two turnovers [in the fourth quarter] that maybe cost us the game.”

Mitchell: “I had a fast break to start the third [quarter] — me and Stanley Johnson, and instead of attacking, I tried to throw it backwards — s--- I wouldn’t have done in the first half.”

Gobert: “What really hurt us was [them] scoring off the turnovers. And the cuts, also. Sometimes we were playing great defense, and then we give up some cuts, [and so] some layups and dunks.”

Snyder: “We didn’t catch the ball when we had a chance to put the ball in the basket. Plays [like] that are deflating.”

Lack of aggression/killer instinct

Snyder: “We gave them life. We had a [12]-point lead and a couple chances to stretch it. And when the game did get close, I thought we could have done more together in execution situations, whether it was against them switching, when they blitzed.”

O’Neale: “We feel like a 10-point lead is supposed to turn into 20, but for us to make that a 20-point lead, we’ve got to execute and stay locked in. … We had moments this game where we let up, and we can’t let that happen.”

Mitchell: “We played like we were up 40 in the second half. And that can’t happen.”

Snyder: “We’ve have opportunities to push the lead and break a game, and that’s the point where we’ve got to recognize and feel the game, play those possessions with more focus and more recognition of that point in the game and how pivotal it is.”

O’Neale: “Definitely should have tried and shot the last shot that I had. I’ve got to be more aware of myself, take what the defense gives me, and be aggressive in those situations.”

Mitchell: “I can’t say the last time we’ve really blown teams out. We’ve done it twice in the past month? When I say, ‘blow teams out,’ [I mean] taking care of business, keeping our foot on the gas throughout. Obviously, we didn’t do that tonight.”

Snyder: “We’ve got to learn quickly and start developing the ability to push the lead, as opposed to, essentially, giving it back. We shot ourselves in the foot. Not that they didn’t do good things, but we made it too easy.”

O’Neale: “Just being more aggressive. Other teams pick up their intensity; we have to, as well. Match that. Take care of the ball. On defense, compete hard. And finish possessions.”

Snyder: “We had plenty of chances to make plays, too, and we just didn’t. We put ourselves in that position. It can’t be that easy to give up a [12]-point lead. We’ve got to make teams work, to come back and grind.”

Mitchell: “It didn’t hurt [enough]. And we can feel it [now].”

Not enough focus and execution

Snyder: “Defensively, as far as some of the things we needed to do in the gameplan, we didn’t execute as well.”

O’Neale: “Our communication — we’ve got to be better as a team and help each other. We know the game plan and we’ve got to execute it.”

Mitchell: “The talking slipped.”

Snyder: “We had breakdowns in pick-and-roll where Rudy should not have been switched out on [LeBron James]. That was an execution breakdown. We’ve seen that small-and-big pick-and-roll.”

Gobert: “They outplayed us. We got disconnected. We made so many mistakes — we had breakdowns defensively and offensively. We stopped moving the ball and doing what we do.”

Mitchell: “We’ve just got to, as a group, find a way to win this game. Whether they change the coverages, they play small, AD’s out, AD’s in — we’ve got to find a way to win this game. And we just didn’t.”

O’Neale: “I knew where I was [on the shots I passed up], but I didn’t know where I was. I tried to get in a situation where I was going to be open. Just being more aware, knowing where I’m at, and just taking the shot.”

Snyder: “It’s not effort — it may result in effort — but it’s just mental focus. It’s treating every possession as important.”

Mitchell: “Our turnovers, our focus — we messed up.”

Big-picture lookahead

Mitchell: “We made so much progress, and to go back [to where we were] right before the break, that’s tough. We’ve got to come back.”

Snyder: “It was not executing on offense, it was turning it over, it was not getting back and flooding the paint. … Those things won’t beat you if you’re more precise offensively and you don’t give up easy baskets. The combination of those two things is difficult to defend against. One begets the other.”

Mitchell: “It’s a reminder that we’re not where we [want to be]. We’ve got to keep going. I’m tired of trying to figure this stuff out, the losses. Especially a game like this — where we were up. We were up, and it was a winnable game.”

Gobert: “There’s a lot of things we could have done better tonight not to let it get to that point, not to let it be a close game. I don’t know what to say.”

Mitchell: “A night like tonight, it’s discouraging, but it’s not something we’re going to overreact to.”