SALT LAKE CITY — Kinda fitting that a snowstorm pelted the Wasatch Front during the Utah Jazz’s game Saturday night.
This team has been like the vehicles that try to brave the weather with bald tires.
Sometimes the Jazzwagon goes forward.
But then it slipssssss.
For the first month and a half of the season, this rebuilding Jazz team has struggled to gain traction and has often found itself spinning out of control.
Eight losses. One win. Six setbacks. Another W. Loss. Two wins in a row!
And, after Saturday's 112-102 overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Jazz find themselves on another three-game losing skid.
Anyone have some chains or new tires they can borrow?
“The season’s not going to stop and wait on us,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said before Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. “We’ve got to try to make the best of where we are right now.”
That, by the way, is not a very good spot.
Losing to the Kings a day after falling in Portland by 32 points is all the proof you need of that.
The Jazz had their chances, but rookie point guard Trey Burke missed a game-winning floater at the buzzer in regulation just three seconds after fellow rookie Ben McLemore tied the game with a wide-open 3-pointer.
The Kings then dominated the overtime session as both Jeremy Evans and Enes Kanter, starting because of injuries, fouled out and the Jazz ran out of gas.
Gordon Hayward had 22 points, Burke and Alec Burks each had 19 points, but the Jazz blew an early 10-point lead while dropping to 4-18.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 28 points and guard Isaiah Thomas scored 26 off the bench. Sacramento won this battle of four-win teams, improving to 5-13 while snapping a six-game losing streak.
More spinning, sliding and skidding for the Jazz.
Not only have they tried to regroup after losing most of their firepower from last season, but the Jazz have yet to get consistent performances from their young developing players and have been plagued by injury issues.
Utah, which began the season with just 10 healthy players for a couple of weeks, is again suffering injury problems.
For Saturday’s game — what should have been a winnable contest against the woeful Kings — the Jazz were without starters Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams.
The 6-foot-10 Favors, averaging 13.4 points and 9.5 rebounds, was a late scratch because of lower back soreness. The power forward suffered back issues this summer while participating in a Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, but he’d been one of only four Jazz players to see action in every game this season before sitting this one out.
Utah was also without Williams again as he continues to rest his inflamed right heel, which has now kept him out of three games.
“It’s tough. It makes it a little tougher. We’re young, short-handed,” Jazz Corbin said. “You get a few guys back and you find a little rhythm there for a short while and you have injuries again. It’s just a little frustrating.
“But it’s a part of what it is,” he added. “We just have to keep plugging at it.”
The coach on the other end of the sideline Saturday empathizes with Corbin, and not just because both squads entered this game with four wins.
“Tyrone Corbin’s a friend, and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and as a person,” Kings coach Mike Malone said. “When you have your No. 1 pick out to start the season, that’s never easy. You look at how they’ve played since Trey Burke was inserted into the lineup.” Williams’ injury came at a time when the Jazz had found a rare winning groove, which coincided with Burke’s insertion into the starting lineup.
“We thought we were finding a little rhythm there with Marvin at (power forward),” Corbin said. “He goes down and you have to go back a little bit and try and figure some things out.”
The Jazz find themselves in a situation where they have to do what Malone’s been doing with the Kings during their recent losing stretch.
“You look for the silver lining in everything you do,” Malone said. “Some days you see a lot of it (good) and other days you have to find whatever you can.”
On this night, the Kings didn't need a silver lining like the Jazz do.10 comments on this story
"Somebody said, 'Oh, you’ve got two four-win teams going for their fifth win tonight,'" Malone said in his pregame interview. "For me it’s an opportunity for us to get better. We're not caught up in them being 4-and-whatever-they-are. This is an opportunity for us as the Sacramento Kings to come in here and try to get a win."
Meanwhile, the Jazz are still searching for some tires that aren't bald.