The good news: The Utah Jazz’s first half in Monday night’s Game 5 was so bad that the second half couldn’t possibly be worse.
The bad news: The Jazz’s first half was sufficiently bad that they also couldn’t recover from it.
The worse news: Utah could not have picked a much worse time to have its worst offensive half of the season, as it led to an eventual 102-77 loss, a 3-2 series deficit, and put the team on the brink of playoff elimination.
And the worst news: Donovan Mitchell got injured late in the game.
Some of the brutal details from the first quarter:
• Utah scored just 18 points.
• The Jazz made only 6 of 20 shots, including 0 for 7 from 3.
• They were outrebounded 13-8, and totaled only one single assist.
And if you thought they couldn’t possibly play much worse, well, the second quarter dispelled that notion:
• Dallas went on a 22-4 run just before halftime.
• The Jazz went six-plus minutes without a point (and totaled just 18 more in the period).
• Utah finished the first half shooting 14 of 40 overall (35%), 2 for 17 on 3s (11.8%), and 6 of 10 on free throws (zero attempts in the second quarter).
• Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson had two assists each — everyone else combined for zero.
• As a result of all that, it was the Jazz’s lowest-scoring half this season.
Besides that, though …
That was more than enough.
For what it’s worth, the second half was rough, too.
Dallas started the third quarter on a 22-10 run, making 7 of 11 shots (including back-to-back 3s from Luka Doncic) while Utah improved all the way up to 4 for 10 … making it 74-46 with 5:03 left in the period.
The game was effectively over at that point, everything which came afterward irrelevant to determining the ultimate outcome.
(Though for posterity’s sake, Utah bumped its scoring up to 19 points in the third quarter — which, unfortunately, was as many as Doncic had by himself in that period. They trailed by as many as 33 and would get as close as 21. Their 77 points exceeded their previous season-low by 13.)
While the Jazz will no doubt adhere to their constant mantra of “never too high, never too low,” Monday certainly felt like a new low.
They will need to muster some additional energy, some additional effort, oh, and maybe some additional capacity to get their league-leading offense from the regular season going once again.
The only players who had much of a positive impact were Clarkson (20 points on 9-for-15 shooting, plus four rebounds and three assists) and Rudy Gobert (17 points, 11 rebounds).
Mitchell’s series-long shooting woes continued — as he totaled just nine points on 4 of 15 from the field (and 0 for 7 beyond the arc). He also departed the game with 4:41 remaining, hobbling off the court and grabbing at his left hamstring.
Bojan Bogdanovic, the hero of Game 4, managed only two points on a pair of free throws, going 0 for 9 overall and 0 of 5 from 3 (he actually did bury one shot from deep, but it came off the board when it was determined that Royce O’Neale committed an offensive foul first). And Conley’s struggles persisted as well, as he managed just four points though his five assists were almost half the Jazz’s team total).
The team wound up 3 for 30 from 3-point range.
They will try to stave off elimination in Game 6 on Thursday night at Vivint Arena.