SALT LAKE CITY — In a topsy-turvy battle of Western Conference foes on Monday night, the Utah Jazz would find themselves in an unideal situation against the New Orleans Pelicans late in the fourth quarter.
After leading by as many as 17 in the first half, the Jazz would have to claw themselves out of a six-point hole in the fourth after going ice cold from the field.
Then, with less than 10 seconds remaining, the Jazz put the ball in the hands of Donovan Mitchell, their best playmaker, without calling a timeout as he looked to create a shot out of the high pick-and-roll, but his 13-footer wouldn’t fall as Utah lost 115-112.
“To be honest with you, I got the shot I wanted,” Mitchell said after posting 19 points with nine assists and six turnovers on 8-for-24 shooting. “I don’t think I should’ve pump-faked twice but I’ve got to hit those. That’s my mindset. I wanted the high pick-and-roll, I think that’s why coach didn’t call timeout because that’s what we wanted and I’ve just got to make the shot.
“I wanted to go a little bit later but I could probably count on my hand how many times I’ve had that situation in my career, so it’s a constant improvement, but I’ve got to hit the shot,” he explained.
However, Jazz coach Quin Snyder also shouldered the blame on that final possession as the young star is trying to figure out how to close games in his second season.
“To be honest, in hindsight, I should have called timeout,” Snyder said. “I thought he had an advantage in the full court. We like the ball in his hands in space and that’s what we had. As the possession evolved, where he wasn’t able to attack right away, that one’s on me. That could have been a timeout.”
Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday scorched the Jazz with 30 points apiece while Anthony Davis posted 15 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Rudy Gobert did bounce back from Saturday’s poor performance against Milwaukee with 19 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks, but felt the Jazz didn’t play with enough urgency on the defensive end from the beginning of the game to win their fifth straight.
New Orleans shot 47.9 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3 as a team while committing just eight turnovers to Utah’s 18.
“They just felt good,” Gobert said of New Orleans. “They’re a very talented team even though they don’t have a great record, they’ve been playing well and we gave them a lot of confidence early in the game. They just are here to hoop, to play, to have fun and the same in the fourth quarter, we’re up 12 with six minutes to go and they were just coming at us and we don’t fight.”
After Derrick Favors’ free throw at 8:10 in the fourth, the Jazz went up 103-89, but would post just two free throws from 7:59 to 1:41 as the Pelicans went on a 22-2 run. Even with the late push to get within one in the final seconds, Mitchell’s important miss couldn’t help put the Pelicans away as they fell to 36-27 on the season.
Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder led the Jazz off the bench with 20 points apiece while Favors contributed 16 points and two blocks on 6-for-10 shooting.14 comments on this story
Utah will face the Pelicans again in New Orleans on Wednesday.
“It feels like there’s a lot of opportunities to learn this lesson throughout a season,” Korver said of putting teams away. “It’s always real dangerous when you’re trying to get in what you want on the offensive end, and you’ve got a 10-point lead for most of the game. Those are moments when you’re kind of playing with fire. They got hot, we missed a couple shots and the game turned around. There is probably a lot to learn from the tape, so we’ll look at it tomorrow.”