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SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell slammed each palms exhausting towards the scorer’s desk as a “Let’s go Suns!” vocals started with Vivint Enviornment.
All the good vibes the Utah Jazz had created over the previous 4 days had been fully erased Friday of their closing dwelling recreation of the common season.
It occurred once more.
Utah had a 17-point lead as the sport entered the fourth quarter; they misplaced 111-105.
If Friday’s recreation towards the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns was thought of a playoff tune-up — because the group stated — you then would possibly as effectively count on the identical to occur. be produced all season to observe the Jazz within the playoffs.
The Suns outscored the Jazz 36-13 within the closing 12 minutes to return again sturdy in a now all-too-predictable approach. The Jazz had been 3 of 20 from the sphere within the fourth quarter, together with 1 of 9 from deep; the Suns had been 14 of 21 with 9 assists.
It was the sixteenth time this season the Jazz had misplaced a recreation after main by double digits and the sixth time this had occurred within the fourth quarter; three of these video games have been previously two weeks towards Western Convention playoff groups.
“Clearly we’ve performed some actually good issues — not lots, like lots — to get us right into a place that we’re in,” coach Quin Snyder stated. “And from then on, as we entered vital time, we didn’t proceed to try this.”
Ultimately, it was the identical factor that occurred over and over this season: the Jazz stopped transferring the ball after which couldn’t cease as soon as the offense stalled. Quickly, a 17-point lead was gone.
“I don’t assume there’s some sort of voodoo spell floating round,” Snyder stated. “Perhaps there’s a bit of hysteria as these items begin to occur.”
Rudy Gobert added: “I feel we predict an excessive amount of within the fourth, in vital time. Once we’re up 17 they usually go up…and tie the sport, it’s like….” Gobert fainted and by no means completed his thought.
Mitchell was 0 for six within the fourth quarter, and Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic had been a mixed 1 of 4 from the sphere. All the pieces earlier than that turned moot as soon as the ultimate buzzer sounded.
Sure, the Jazz went blow for blow with the perfect group within the league – till the Suns did what they’ve been doing all season: elevate their recreation when it mattered most. The Jazz didn’t – couldn’t? – observe swimsuit.
Phoenix didn’t have to win the sport; the Suns locked up the league’s finest file a very long time in the past. It felt like Phoenix was including to Utah’s distress only for enjoyable.
So what must be modified?
Mitchell thinks it’s fairly easy.
“I’ve to hit a shot within the fourth,” Mitchell stated. “I haven’t been good in fourth all 12 months. My group wants me to be that man. I’ve to be as much as it.”
It’s considerably at odds with the “ball transfer” and “preserve taking part in the identical approach” options shared by Snyder and Gobert – which truthfully may very well be a part of the issue – however Mitchell might be considerably proper. .
Because the All-Star break, Mitchell is taking pictures 30.2% from the sphere on 96 shot makes an attempt and 20% on 40 shot makes an attempt from deep within the fourth quarter. If he can get again to the supernova model he’s displayed within the final two playoffs, Utah’s closing points will possible go away.
“Hitting exhausting photographs is my job and I didn’t,” Mitchell stated. “…What it’s possible you’ll all take into account tough is similar reps I’ve been doing all summer time. So I work to get these photographs at these instances, so now I simply need to exit and hit them. .There isn’t any different method. ”
And with the reminiscence of his previous successes, he issued a closing attraction to jazz followers: “I do know it sucks. Followers, follow us. I promise you it will likely be tremendous.”