OKLAHOMA CITY — On paper, the Utah Jazz’s latest six-game road trip appeared to be a mess.
Losing all but one of the games isn’t great, but when you’re hit with all the unforeseen injuries and mishaps that the Jazz had to push through, getting through the bulk of the league’s toughest month is humbling.
Sure, the Jazz dropped their third straight game to the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-79 Wednesday, but they didn’t have Rudy Gobert (knee), Donovan Mitchell (big toe bruise) or Raul Neto (concussion) and Derrick Favors, who was just returning after missing two games with a concussion.
Heavy fog in Houston Monday night delayed the team from arriving in Oklahoma City on time, as they were forced to stay an extra night.
But the Jazz are still standing and prepping to return home Thursday for a primetime TNT battle against the San Antonio Spurs at 8:30 p.m.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said the guys just confirmed what he’s already known on this road trip.
“We’ve got a team that competes and plays hard through everything,” said Snyder. “I think that was confirmed on the trip.
“We also know that we’re a team that has to play a certain way,” he added. “We have to be really precise in order to play with any kind of force and we weren’t precise at the beginning of the game, whether it’s turnovers or spacing and then our execution wasn’t very good offensively and that hurt our defense. We just had a lot of breakdowns.”
Jazz guard Rodney Hood has been away from his family for nine days in five cities. He can’t wait to get back to Salt Lake City to sleep in his own bed, see his family and get back in front of the home fans at Vivint Arena.
“It’s been a long road trip,” Hood said. “We played good basketball even though it didn’t equal up to wins but hopefully we can get some when we go home.
“We can compete,” he added. “We’ve competed for stretches of games but it’s about first of all getting healthy and then putting that 48 minutes together and win some games.”
BOOZ RETIRES: Former Jazz star Carlos Boozer has officially walked away from the game of basketball. He announced his retirement Monday on ESPN after spending his final season in China, playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
“I’m officially retired,” Boozer said, per Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.
Boozer, 36, played 13 seasons in the NBA, but enjoyed his best success in Utah. The two-time All-Star averaged 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds throughout his six-year stretch in Salt Lake City from 2004-10, where the team reached the playoffs for four straight seasons and the Western Conference Finals in 2007.
‘TOMORROW MAY NOT EXIST’: Bleacher Report featured columnist Yaron Weitzman authored an in-depth profile that posted Wednesday about Jazz guard Ricky Rubio and his experience of unexpectedly losing his mother, Tona Vives, who was 56, in May 2016, after a four-year battle with lung cancer. Rubio continues to do great work in the Utah community in his first season as a Jazzman after playing in Minnesota for six seasons. He’s averaging a career-best 12.1 points but a career-low 4.8 assists. The Spaniard sees life bigger than basketball after experiencing the loss of someone so close to him.
“Going through an experience like that, it changes your life, it changes your perspective on life,” Rubio told Weitzman. “You’re less worried about the little things and more worried about the big picture. You realize tomorrow may not exist.”