We’ve had a consistency of effort, but the defensive execution, the focus that’s required, is where I see potential progress for us. —Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
WASHINGTON — Consistency, or lack thereof, has been an issue for the Utah Jazz throughout their disappointing 16-24 season.
The Jazz have shown flashes of brilliance at times, knocking off Eastern Conference leader Boston on the road, beating San Antonio and Cleveland at home, not to mention taking a 40-point road win at Orlando and a 47-point home win over Washington.
On the other hand, there have been some ugly losses — at Phoenix early in the season, at Chicago and Brooklyn in early December and double-digit home losses to Oklahoma City, Miami and New Orleans.
Often the inconsistency has been a problem within games such as last Friday when the Jazz put together three good quarters only to be done in by a horrible 12 minutes when they were outscored by Denver by 22 points in the third quarter.
If you look at the season as a whole, the team’s inconsistency has been obvious. After losing eight of 10 early in the season, the Jazz ran off a six-game winning streak, only to lose 13 of their last 16.
Utah coach Quin Snyder is well aware of his team’s inconsistency, which he blames partly on the youth of the team and the influx of several new players. However, he doesn’t doubt his players’ effort.
“We’ve had a consistency of effort, but the defensive execution, the focus that’s required, is where I see potential progress for us,” said Snyder, who doesn’t know if there’s an easy way to coach consistency.
‘You can continue to emphasize it and hopefully you’re consistently good rather than consistently bad,” he said. “Usually if you’re a team that’s trying to improve with a new group, you’re going to find some of that inconsistency. So the thing that you can control, at least more so than if you’re making shots, is the consistency on the defensive end.”
The Jazz reach the halfway point of the season Wednesday night (5 p.m. MST) when they take on the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Utah already owns a 116-69 victory over the Wizards this season back in early December. The defeat was the second-worst loss in franchise history for the Wizards, but it may have been a wake-up call for the season.
They went on to win their next two road games at Portland and Phoenix and have gone 11-6 since that forgettable loss to stand 23-17 and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Bradley Beal leads the Wizards with a 23.6 average, while backcourt mate John Wall averages 18.7 points per game, but he missed the game in Utah with a knee injury that caused him to miss 10 games. Otto Porter averages 14.2 points at the small forward position, while Markieff Morris plays the power forward spot (10.4 ppg). Marcin Gortat is the center (9.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg).
Porter’s status for Wednesday’s game is up in the air after he missed Saturday night’s home game against Milwaukee.
Derrick Favors is the latest Jazz player to be injured as he sprained his right ankle midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss in Miami. Favors went through portions of practice both Monday and Tuesday, and his status will be determined Wednesday.
JAZZ NOTES: Utah will conclude its nine-day road trip on Friday with a game at Charlotte. The Jazz have dropped to the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference standings and are actually closer to last place (3.5 games ahead of Memphis and the Lakers) than the final playoff spot (4.5 games behind New Orleans). The Jazz now rank second in the league in free-throw shooting at 80.8 percent, trailing only Golden State. Ekpe Udoh is tied for 18th in the NBA in blocked shots, but is seventh in blocks per 48 minutes. Ricky Rubio ranks 124th in the league in field-goal percentage at 39.2 percent, ahead of only Chicago’s Justin Holiday. Before losing at home to Milwaukee Saturday night, the Wizards had won six of seven games. Utah has won four straight against Washington, dating back to the 2015-16 season.