Thursday’s win over the depleted and struggling Lakers wasn’t exactly a dominant one for the Utah Jazz. Really, with the score at 113-103, the game still felt a bit undecided. Then Malik Monk missed a 3 for L.A., and Bojan Bogdanovic drilled one for the Jazz, and that seemed to finally settle things.
Easy or not, when you come in having lost five in a row, you tend to take what you can get. So, despite not really pulling away from a team missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Jazz still came away feeling good about the result.
“It’s huge. … Especially with their guys out, understanding that those guys who are out there playing are coming out aggressive,” said Donovan Mitchell. “So being able to take care of business and rest up and get ready for Golden State [on Saturday] — it’s big.”
Coach Quin Snyder agreed, even if him pumping up Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony like it was 2012 felt a bit hyperbolic: “We should feel good about winning this game. That’s a good team.”
Meet Greg Monroe
With Udoka Azubuike out for the year due to ankle surgery, Hassan Whiteside battling a bone spur in his right foot, and small-ball center options not really going well, the Jazz opted to bring in veteran big man Greg Monroe on a 10-day contract to provide some size.
The 31-year-old’s introduction to the SLC media … came after their not-great loss in L.A. He still made a solid impression, though.
He extolled the virtues of the team holding an off-day practice, so that he was able to actually go through some plays and schemes with the coaching staff. He added that he didn’t feel any pressure, considering this is his “fourth 10-day, so you kind of get used to it a little bit.” Mostly, he’s just excited to be on another team (the Jazz are his ninth) and to get to play again, because he’s not ready for his career to be over yet.
“I still love it. I still think I can definitely play at this level. I’m just not ready to be done. I think I have a lot left in the tank,” he said. “Everybody has their own journeys — this is just mine. So I just have to do what I do to get back in the place where I want to be, and this is part of it right now.
Lessons to be learned
While Snyder noted there were “obvious parallels” between last year’s Game 6 meltdown vs. the Clippers and Tuesday’s game at Crypto.com Arena. Presumably, he was mostly referring to, y’know, being up 25 points but eventually losing.
He also pointed out, though, that this loss was not a carbon copy of the previous one. L.A. didn’t go 5-out this time, with big man Isaiah Hartenstein finishing the game at center; the Clippers caused trouble this time simply by augmenting their drop-big base defense with some pick-and-roll blitzing on the perimeter; and the most obvious difference? “Terance Mann didn’t hit nine 3s.”
Differences aside, he said the latest Clippers collapse was nevertheless familiar, because it had a couple things in common with other bad losses this season: “The consistent thing that I think is most important to take from it is that we’ve lost games during the course of the year because we haven’t defensive rebounded, and we haven’t gotten back. That was Charlotte, on the road trip, that was Orlando earlier in the year, that was actually the Lakers [in those two losses]. … Those two areas, they’re challenging for us at times.”