Jazz drops Game 9 of last 11 outings against Suns

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz have lost for the ninth time in their last 11 outings, but it’s not for lack of trying.

The Phoenix Suns defeated the Jazz for the second straight game, beating Utah 105-97 thanks to 43 points from Devin Booker.

The Jazz trailed by 21 points after the first quarter, but fell back two by the end of the fourth quarter before ultimately clinching the loss.

Jazz is not going in the wrong direction

There are usually two directions a team that has lost nine of their last 11 can go; they may continue to drop games, eventually collapsing for the season, or they may respond by fighting on the ground and trying to regain their composure.

If Wednesday’s loss to the Suns was any indication, the Jazz are still getting the competition wrong.

After a disastrous first quarter that saw Booker outscore the entire roster 21-18, the Jazz fought back and gave themselves a legitimate shot at victory.

According to Quin Snyder, this fight is also present in the team above ground.

“We’re going in one direction,” Snyder said after his team lost their tenth game of the month, “that’s not down.”

The Jazz maintained that despite the struggles on the field, the team has remained connected, including last week’s post-shootout display that even though those outside the franchise may feel depressed by the losses. , the team kept a cool head.

After Wednesday’s loss, Snyder reiterated that the Jazz’s primary focus right now isn’t wins and losses.

“I want us to be the best version of ourselves at the end of the year,” Snyder said. “Who knows what will happen.”

In light of the Jazz’s recent struggles, it can’t be ignored that they are playing without their two best players as Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert missed both games against the Suns.

Although Snyder acknowledged their absence, he said it was not solely responsible for the loss.

We’re playing without Rudy and Donovan right now,” Snyder said, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t go back. [on defense] unless Rudy and Donovan come back and run back.

Mike Conley finished with 16 points and 10 assists, but instead the team was unwilling to use Gobert and Mitchell’s absences as an excuse.

“Over the years we’ve won games without guys,” Conley said. “We were still able to play our game.”

The Jazz hope to recover Mitchell from his concussion this weekend during their two-game road trip which begins Friday in Memphis, although there is no guarantee he will be available.

Gobert has a tight calf, and while it’s not a big deal, the Jazz are cautiously progressing with the injury and haven’t played a definitive schedule upon his return.

Whiteside struggling after Covid

A look at the box score would tell you that Hassan Whiteside was one of Jazz’s best players against Phoenix, recording a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds while leading the team with a positive 11 more. -less despite the loss.

But the center committed four untimely fouls in the fourth quarter, including a late technical foul that sealed Phoenix’s victory.

After the match, Whiteside explained the severity of his illness and other issues he has been dealing with since his return.

‘I’ve been battling with COVID, had a 104 degree fever in a basement for the past two weeks’, ‘I’m just trying to come here and get fit – be away from the team and come back here against the number one team in the NBA.

But Whiteside is not the only member of his family to deal with the virus, something that weighs heavily on him.

“Guys care, if I didn’t care…I care,” Whiteside protested. “I could be with my son right now, he has COVID. [Explitive] it’s hard here.

Whiteside played 34 minutes, the most of any Jazzman in the loss.

How does Ainge fit in?

The NBA’s trade deadline is officially two weeks away as the Jazz sit fourth in the Western Conference and hold the league’s sixth-best record overall.

At this point, it’s clear the Jazz aren’t the best team in the NBA right now, but with better health and a few minor tweaks here and there, they could be.

To add to the team’s general desire to improve, the Jazz’s hiring of Danny Ainge in mid-December added fuel to the fire that the team may be looking for a reshuffle before the deadline of the February 10.

With that in mind, there seems to be some implication that Ainge walks around Jazz’s facility with a cape and scythe, reflecting the grim reaper more than the team’s CEO.

Snyder was asked about Ainge’s presence around the team and painted a different picture.

“It was great to have him in the gym, to come and train to get a chance to visit and talk, and those conversations are wide-ranging, some of them telling a story or some of them talk about the team,” Snyder said.

The Jazz are unlikely to make any significant changes to the roster, but with the team’s recent defensive lapses on the perimeter, an upgrade or two isn’t out of reach.

But based on how Snyder described Ainge’s presence around the team, he’s not the bossy leader he was portrayed during his time in Boston.

“Not just his background, but his personality, his character, all of those things – I think that’s positive in many ways in terms of the impact that has had on our staff.”

The next two weeks could be tense for the Jazz squad, but having Ainge in the organization doesn’t seem to make matters worse.

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