LOS ANGELES — The Jazz were oh-so close to being on a 14-game winning streak since the All-Star break going into Thursday night’s game with the Lakers.
One of the reasons they weren’t was because of a disappointing loss to the Lakers three weeks ago in Salt Lake when they blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead. The other two losses came on that last-second shot at Boston and Wednesday night against Washington when Gordon Hayward’s 3-point try rimmed out with the Jazz down by two in the final seconds.
“I know the last time we played the Lakers they beat us,’’ Snyder said. “They played very well. We’ve had a few games like that whether it be a Boston game where we lose on a last-second shot or last night if we hit a shot. Then we would have a longer winning streak.’’
But Snyder looks at the losses in a positive light, saying they help his team grow.
“Those things offer you the opportunity for progress as much as any others,’’ he said. “If each of those games can help us become a better team, we'll end up winning more than we lose.’’
He was also pleased that his young group hung in against the older, more experienced Wizards.
“We were playing against men, bigger and stronger — our guys are 19, 21, 22, 24,’’ he said. “I was pleased we kept ourselves in the game defensively, even when we didn’t shoot well.’’
TRAFFIC WOES: Snyder is known for being a few minutes late for his pre-game press conferences, but Thursday night, he was more than a half hour late and spoke less than an hour before tipoff.
So was he caught up in March Madness back at his hotel?
He laughed when asked if that was the case, saying, “I’ve stopped watching college basketball. I just watch selectively now.’’
Turns out Snyder was on the second Jazz bus, which got caught up in typical L.A. rush-hour traffic.
HAIR TALK: The Lakers’ Nick Young, aka Swaggy P, hasn’t played in over a month because of an injury, but he’s still talking to the media.
After he showed up recently with a new hairdo that coach Byron Scott referred to as a “lost bet’’ that looked like "worms,'' Young responded that Scott was mocking his locks because he hasn’t been able to grow hair since he played with the Lakers 25 years ago.
“I’m bald by choice, so that blows his theory right out of the water,’’ Scott said when teased about Young’s comments. “I keep it this way because I don’t want to see how much gray I have up there.’'
WHOOPS: Not only did we not realize UAB was in the NCAA Tournament in our note earlier this week, overlooking the fact that Elijah Millsap’s former team is in the tournament, but the Blazers went and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the first round of the tournament Thursday with a 60-59 win over No. 3 seed Iowa State.
“Oh, man. they played outstanding,’’ Millsap said. “It was exciting they came out and played well and hit that big shot at the end. I think they can win again if they continue to play that way.’’
Another interested NCAA observer Thursday was Jack Cooley, who played for Notre Dame for four years, graduating in 2013. His No. 3-seeded Irish avoided an upset by holding off Northeastern 69-65.
“It was a little scary, but I thought we played well,’’ Cooley said. “Northeastern’s a really good team so I’m really looking forward to coming out and crushing Butler.’’
Cooley was a few feet away from former Butler star Gordon Hayward when he said it, but Hayward didn’t hear him.
JAZZ NOTES: Greg Miller, who stepped down earlier this week as the CEO of the LHM Group and the Jazz, is on this road trip with one of his sons and was in the locker room before the game . . . The Jazz continued their roster changes, recalling Grant Jerrett from the Idaho Stampede Thursday. Jerrett had been assigned to the Stampede on March 10 and appeared in four games, averaging 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game . . . Earlier this week, Ian Clark and Jack Cooley were recalled from Idaho. Bryce Cotton was picked up from the Austin Spurs of the D-League last month.