anuel Mudiay, and a pair of 50% splits from Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley that you surely want back.
And then there were the free throws that didn’t happen. Mitchell was reportedly upset with himself for not drawing the foul on Richaun Holmes in the closing seconds when Holmes was helplessly in the air having bit on Mitchell’s pump fake.
Donovan Mitchell has been visibly frustrated in the locker room postgame. Number one on his mind: he thinks he should have drawn the foul with Hield up in the air on the last play.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) November 2, 2019
He’s probably right. There was an easy foul to get there and it could have won the Jazz the game. Still, I can live with that miss. The Jazz were frankly lucky to be in a position to win the game still and Mitchell’s recognition of that missed opportunity will only prepare him for the future.
You may be tempted to put an asterisk by this one too. The Jazz had just one more turnover than the Kings in tonight’s outing (17 compared to 16) and their turnover rate was a far cry better than it has been in almost every other game this season. It wasn’t necessarily turnovers that were the issue, but rather the kinds of turnovers and the transition defense that followed.
Sacramento is a young team and they have one of the quickest players in the league in De’Aaron Fox. They like to get downhill and they like to let Fox create in transition. Utah typically does a pretty decent job defending in the transition. Transition defense has been an emphasis of Snyder’s ever since he was hired in Utah. It is for all of these reasons that Sacramento’s 28 points scored off turnovers tonight especially stings.
I’m not certain that the scoring had as much to do with the transition defense as it did the kinds of turnovers that took place.
Conley repeatedly found himself in the air without anyone to pass to en route to his four turnovers on the night.
Bojan Bogdanovic dribbled into double teams on at least two separate occasions (his third turnover was mostly a miscommunication) and tried to force the ball over the top. He’s actually had some success with these kinds of passes this year, but that same success was not realized tonight. Thanks to the release of this year’s roster survey, we now know that the Kings have the third tallest team in the league, so perhaps the length was affecting Jazz players.
In each of these situations (and others) the ball ended up in the hands of a Sacramento player who was at or above the free-throw line and already in motion headed towards their basket on the other end. You know how Snyder always likes to get his players the ball when they are in motion and already started downhill? The same principle applies here. The Sacramento players were already in motion and had the step on Jazz players who still needed to turn around in order to get back. Moreover, in the case of Conley and Mudiay, the Jazz’s first line of defense was underneath the basket since it is usually the point guard’s job to be the first man back.
Turnovers have been a major issue for the Jazz this year. It’s possible that the turnovers are the growing pains that come with so many new faces who are being asked to run a foreign, pass-heavy offense, with the ball in their hands often. Let’s hope that’s the case because if they keep this up they’re destined to have more games that sting like this one.
Sacramento grabbed 11 offensive rebounds tonight, including one that led to the game-winning basket. There’s a lot going on here and some of it is a bit concerning. Without a true power forward on the floor, the Jazz figured to have some trouble rebounding the ball this year. This was a fear that was well documented leading up to the season. Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio aren’t there to help rack up the boards anymore, and Conley and Bogdanovic aren’t exactly known for their rebounding. As a result, Gobert has to either be completely dominant on the boards or the team has to make a concerted effort to team rebound.
Gobert was really pretty good tonight. He finished with 16 boards and I have a hard time getting on him too much because the defensive effort he made in the final six minutes to stymie the King’s young core was truly special. On the go-ahead basket, however, Gobert makes a half-hearted move towards the shooter, Nemanja Bjelica, and then finds himself ball watching before suddenly jolting back into action as he realizes he should have been crashing the boards. It stings because he was right in a position to either grab the board or contest Harrison Barnes’ putback.
Still, that board was not entirely Gonert’s fault and, to be fair, he doesn’t often find himself ball watching. The go-ahead basket did show the team’s general lack of effort to collectively rebound the ball though. If you watch Bogdanovic, he sort of pretends to box out an imaginary player but doesn’t actually put his body into anyone allowing Barnes to jog straight to the rim. The lack of connectedness between his body and his man is frankly, unacceptable at such a crucial time in the game.
That lack of attention to the small details took place all night by the Jazz. Team rebounding is ultimately about effort. Ed Davis typically inhales rebounds because he puts forth an immense amount of effort to battle and get hold of the ball. The other Jazz players need to be willing to imitate that effort and they simply did not do that tonight.
The Jazz need to do a better job of team rebounding if they’re going to prevent this from being an issue going forward. They must box out and they must take pride in going and collecting the ball. They can’t afford to ball watch. They can’t afford to leave the rebounds entirely to Gobert and Davis. Guys like Bogdanovic and Jeff Green especially need to figure out a way to get involved on the glass, because there aren’t a whole lot of other options for this team to put a stop to second-chance buckets.