TORONTO — The way the Utah Jazz are playing, members of the 1974-75 New Orleans Jazz team shouldn’t feel safe about their spot in franchise history.
Sure, they’ll always be the first Jazz team.
But they might not be the team with the worst start in franchise history for much longer if this basketball debauchery continues.
The 2013-14 Jazz squad is off to a record-breaking pace in a bad way.
Saturday’s game — a miserable 115-91 blowout to the Raptors — got out of control so early even beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford might’ve thought it was an embarrassment for the Jazz.
It certainly was a frustrating one — the latest frustrating one — for Utah coach Tyrone Corbin.
Energy, execution and effort all seemed to be left in the States somewhere as the Jazz fell to 0-7, with that franchise-worst 0-11 start back in 1974 looking more and more inevitable to be duplicated 39 years later.
“This is not fun. I don’t think we showed up with the intensity that we needed to to compete against these guys tonight,” Corbin said. “I thought there were times we may have felt a little sorry for ourselves out there tonight. They could just be overwhelmed by the moment.”
If the quotes sound familiar, well, it’s because they are being repeated as often as losses to begin this season.
To sum up the teams’ performances, the Raptors made it look like Canada invented the game of basketball (which it kind of did) and the Jazz made it look like they are just learning the sport (which they kind of are at this level).
Toronto jumped to a 30-16 lead after the first quarter and built a whopping 62-36 halftime lead. Rudy Gay had a relatively quiet night with 11 points, but it hardly mattered as backup big Tyler Hansbrough scored 23, DeMar DeRozan put in 18 and Jonas Valanciunas added 14. Even Quincy Acy came in and lit up the Jazz, firing in two of the Raptors’ 10 3-pointers.
As far as defense goes, Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward admitted the team had “a lack of effort or a lack of execution or something.” He thought the Raptors got “way too many points, easy points, dunks, wide-open threes.” Toronto hit its first six shots before cooling off.
“Defensively,” he added, “we weren’t there.”
The Jazz, meanwhile, got another solid showing from Hayward (24 points). Derrick Favors and Alec Burks each scored 17 points and Enes Kanter contributed 14, but those three shot a combined 15-for-36.
While 91 points is a vast improvement over Friday’s 73-point clunker in Chicago, it wasn’t nearly enough. Utah fell behind by an astounding 38 points to a team with two wins when an Acy trey made it 100-62 with 10 minutes remaining.
The end result tied Friday’s 97-73 loss at United Center for the largest margin of defeat this season: 24.
This was the fourth game in a row in which the Jazz have trailed by 20 points or more. Corbin appreciated the “fight” at the end of the game to at least whack 14 points off of the Raptors’ biggest lead.
Utah has now lost eight straight, dating back to the final game of the 2012-13 season. The Jazz haven’t tasted victory this year in 14 consecutive games, including preseason.
The fact they hadn’t been beaten in Toronto since 2004 exemplifies how this season’s going.
“We’re searching for the answer. We’ve got to keep working, trying to get through this rough patch. We’re struggling,” Hayward said. “You just try to not make the same mistakes. We’ve got to find out something. We’re finding out about ourselves right now, and hopefully we can push our way through it.”
This shellacking came on the tail end of a brutal beginning to the season in terms of the schedule. In 11 nights, the Jazz played seven games in six cities, four time zones and two countries.
The Jazz continue to play shorthanded as well, with Trey Burke (finger), Brandon Rush (knee rehab), Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff) and Andris Biedrins (ankle) still out indefinitely.
“We’re a little beat up,” Corbin said. “But you know what, they’re young. They’ll get through it. We’ll take (Sunday) and reflect on some things.”
The team flew back from Canada after the game and will take Sunday off — to rest and reflect — before getting at it again at home against Denver (1-4).
“It’s over,” Kanter said of another road loss, “and now we are going to go home where we have three games and we’ve now got to think about them.”
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