All you can do is just control what you can, and that’s what we’re on our guys about all the time right now. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Following their seventh loss in eight games last week against the Brooklyn Nets, some Utah Jazz players expressed frustration at the way things were going.
In the three games since, the Jazz have won by 40, lost by 21 and won by 30, providing them rather extreme opportunities to learn how to respond to both a big victory and a large loss.
In truth, Utah head coach Quin Snyder said after his team beat the Chicago Bulls 110-80 on Wednesday night that the key is to maintain a sense of urgency regardless the result of a given game.
“We’ve got to be mentally tough, and for me, whether it’s a win or a loss, we need to be (mad) about the things that we’re not doing well and start doing them better and continue to improve and let the scoreboard take care of itself, especially at this point in the year,” he said. “That’s where this team is and we just have to keep improving.”
Derrick Favors, who scored a team-high 23 points on Wednesday, echoed Snyder’s sentiments of staying mentally tough regardless of what the scoreboard says or who the Jazz are playing.
“Obviously you feel a lot better when you win, but you just can’t let it go to your head,” he said. “If you beat a good team or you beat a bad team, you just can’t let it go to your head.”
One of the more unsung heroes Wednesday night was forward Jonas Jerebko, who started at the 4-spot and played solid defense on Bulls rookie standout Lauri Markkanen, limiting him to three points on 1-of-9 shooting while being his typically savvy self on offense.
While the win came against a bad Chicago team, Jerebko said he feels as though he and his teammates are capable of that sort of performance on a nightly basis.
“We kept positive,” he said, referring to the rough patch earlier this month. “We know we can play this way. We’ve just got to try to be more consistent.”
Although rookie Donovan Mitchell had his worst shooting night of the season from a percentage standpoint in going just 1-of-10 from the field (all of his attempts came in the first half), the quasi-point guard dished seven assists, one off his season high.
“He’s got good vision,” Snyder said. “We talk about Donovan and how he is going to get better and what he can do and the word we always bring up is, ‘reads.’ I thought he was doing a good job of reading those situations. I liked that he took 10 shots in the first half because he was attacking. Oftentimes when you are doing that, that’s what opens up some of the other things. He was able to see those things and make the play.”
Said Mitchell: “It’s still early. We’re a new team and we’re starting to find our rhythm.”
Up next for the Jazz is a date Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, who were without star Giannis Antetokounmpo (right knee soreness) in a 113-107 overtime win against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
A victory would mark the first time this month that Utah has picked up consecutive victories.
“All you can do is just control what you can,” Snyder said, “and that’s what we’re on our guys about all the time right now.”