Jazz at midseason: Bests, worsts and mosts during a tough season

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz hit the halfway point of the season, of their schedule anyway, earlier this week at Washington, where they took a surprising 107-104 victory. Two days later, they began the second half of the schedule with a disappointing loss to a 15-24 Charlotte Hornets team.

Those two games along with a decisive defeat in Denver and last-second loss in Miami on the four-game road trip were a microcosm of the team’s up-and-down season filled with big losses, unlikely victories and some near-misses.

The Jazz sit at 17-25, nine games behind last year’s pace when they finished fifth in the Western Conference and eventually advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Right now they are 4.5 games out of the final West playoff spot and just 3.5 games out of last place.

Not only did the Jazz lose their top player of recent years, Gordon Hayward, to Boston via free agency, but once again have suffered a slew of injuries that have sidelined Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum and others for a total of 122 games this season.

“We understood going into the year that this would be a year that we would be pivoting in some ways, finding out a lot about our team,” said coach Quin Snyder. “That process is taking place and it continues to. There’s a growth process that goes along with that. The injuries have exacerbated that because we’re experiencing new lineups.”

Snyder has talked a lot about focusing on the “process” more than results, although he calls results “relevant.”

“It’s hard to be in a situation where you’re losing,” he said. “You have to lace the whole experience with an amount of realism and at the same time continue to try to set a high bar for our group and their improvement and their progress.”

Here’s a look at some of the highs and lows from the season heading into the second half of the schedule.

BEST GAME

Beating the team with the second-best record in the NBA on the road without two of your top players has to be No. 1 on the list. That happened back in mid-December against the Boston Celtics when the Jazz went into TD Garden and defeated the men in green 107-95.

That was the last time we saw Rudy Gobert in action as he went down with a knee injury in the second minute and was soon to be followed by Derrick …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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