SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and his players broke down their 92-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies with reporters on Monday night, there was a balance between the notion that it’s still early in the season and that it’s just one game with the fact that they’ve got to solve some of the issues that plagued them.
After all, as Rudy Gobert noted when asked about the vibe of the team in the locker room, “We’ve got a big road trip coming up.”
The Jazz’s next four contests between now and the end of October will all be away from Vivint Arena, starting Wednesday night in Houston, a rematch of last season’s Western Conference semifinal series the Rockets won in five games.
But there wasn’t much talk Monday about Houston. Rather, it centered around what Utah needs to do to ensure its two-game losing streak doesn’t spiral out of control. More specifically, the discussion was about getting better offensively after the Jazz (1-2) shot just 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the 3-point line as the Grizzlies stymied them at just about every turn.
“The most accurate thing I can say is we weren’t making the right reads,” Snyder said. “We’re an unselfish team, and we didn’t make the right reads and we didn’t make the extra pass. That’s who we are. It didn’t happen the way it needs to tonight, and I’m sure our guys feel the same way I do.”
Indeed a number of Snyder’s players echoed his sentiments.
“We need to find another way when games like this happen,” said guard Dante Exum. “If you’re not shooting well, it’s attacking the paint and making sure we’re getting not just an open shot, but wide open shots. It’s the extra pass. Stuff like that … we’ve got to keep searching, keep searching, keep digging. I think that’s the biggest thing for us.”
After a strong preseason and having scored 13 points off the bench in each of Utah’s first two games, Exum scored just four on 2-of-11 shooting Monday night, which included missing all four of his 3-point attempts.
Added Gobert, who finished with 11 points after scoring 16 and 19 in the first two games, respectively: “We were locked in defensively. I feel like we played hard. We just have to just figure out a way to just play basketball offensively. They got really physical and we started thinking too much when the shot didn’t go in, so we’ve just got to keep trusting each other and keep playing as a team.”
That concept of playing as a team offensively is one Snyder stressed, noting that it’s a necessity with the way his roster is constructed.1 comment on this story
“We just weren’t efficient on the offensive end,” he said. “Certainly Memphis, give them credit. … They defended well, and when a team does that, you have to be even more determined to work together to generate good offense when the shots aren’t falling. We competed. We just have to play differently on the offensive end in order for us I think to be who we are.”
Utah on Wednesday will face a Rockets team that is also just 1-2 on the young season. Houston will be without All-Star guard Chris Paul, who will be serving the second of a two-game suspension for his role in the altercation between the Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers last Saturday, as well as injured reserve forward James Ennis.
The Jazz announced Tuesday afternoon that they have assigned Tony Bradley to the Salt Lake City Stars as they hold training camp this week.