I thought the beginning of the first and the beginning of the third quarter really hurt us. We’ve just got to get better. We’ve got to be better at the beginning of the quarters and control the things we can control. —Jazz coach Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — A common theme for the Utah Jazz this season, even in some victories, has been an inability to get going at the start of each half.
It happened again in Tuesday’s loss to a Philadelphia 76ers team playing without its leading scorer and rebounder as the Jazz fell 104-97 at Vivint Arena.
The Jazz looked listless at the start of the game as the Sixers raced to a 23-10 advantage and again at the start of the second half when Philly extended a lead that had been cut to two at halftime with a 21-7 run. Take away the 27-point difference over the first six minutes of each half and the Jazz had a 20-point margin over the Sixers the rest of the game.
Poor shooting was also a big factor as the Jazz managed just 30.3 percent from the field, barely surpassing the team-record low of 28.8 percent set in 2014. Coach Quin Snyder talked a lot about the poor shooting, but also his team’s inability to get in gear at the start of each half.
“I thought the beginning of the first and the beginning of the third quarter really hurt us,” he said. “We’ve just got to get better. We’ve got to be better at the beginning of the quarters and control the things we can control.”
It wasn’t the first time it has happened to the Jazz, who fell to 5-6 on the season with Tuesday’s defeat.
Against Toronto last Friday, the Jazz let the Raptors get off to a 16-10 lead in the first half and then after taking a one-point halftime lead, the Jazz scored only five points in the first four minutes of the second half as Toronto scored 13 and moved out to a seven-point lead.
Last week against Portland, the Jazz fell behind 14-6 in the first quarter and were outscored 19-14 over the first half of the third quarter, although they fought back and won the game in overtime.
In an earlier road game against the Clippers, the Jazz got off to a decent start in the first half, but after trailing by one point at halftime, they watched L.A. go on an 18-2 run to start the second half on its way to an 18-point victory.
Then there was the loss in Phoenix when the Jazz fell behind 10-2 to start the game and were outscored 9-2, 6-2 and 6-1 at the start of subsequent quarters.
Perhaps the Jazz need to tinker with the starting lineup to get things moving faster at the start of each half. Snyder didn’t address that directly after Tuesday’s loss but talked about the change he made to start the second half with Donovan Mitchell starting at 2-guard in place of Rodney Hood.
“That’s not punishing Rodney,” he said. “Rodney did a great job. He came in with a great mindset.”
Indeed, Hood scored 11 points over the last six minutes of the third quarter, while Mitchell went scoreless during his time in the first half of the third quarter on his way to a dismal 3-of-21 shooting night.
“Our team is going to be a team that has to be prepared to play in all situations," Snyder said. "The fact that the starting lineup changed in the third quarter is the smallest of small things. Those are decisions you make during the course of a game. Everybody’s got to play better.”
JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz didn’t practice Wednesday and are expected to practice Thursday before Friday’s home game against Miami. Then they’ll come back to play Brooklyn Saturday night in what is the first of three home back-to-back sets this season . . . Hood is tied for third in the NBA free-throw percentage at 96.0 percent along with former Utah standout Delon Wright of Toronto . . . Ricky Rubio is tied for 11th at 92.5 percent . . . Since scoring 30 points against Portland last week, Rubio is just 11 of 35 from the field and 1 for 14 from 3-point range . . . Rudy Gobert leads the NBA in blocked shots at 2.55 per game, is fifth in field goal percentage at 62.4 percent and is 11th in rebounding at 10.4 per game . . . After playing Minnesota at home Monday night, the Jazz will embark on a six-day, four-game road trip to New York, Brooklyn, Orlando and Philadelphia.