After three quarters, it wasn’t looking good for Utah.

The Jazz struggled on both ends of the court, leading to a 26-point deficit with only 12 minutes remaining. 

But as championship-caliber teams do, Utah never believed it was out of a game. 

The Jazz used an 18-0 run late in the fourth quarter to close within four points, but that was the closest they’d get. Utah fell 111-105 to Miami on Saturday night.

“We’ve got to get better. … It’s a long season,” Rudy Gobert said postgame. “These guys (Miami) play really good basketball. I think the way they connect, the way they move the ball, and the way they share the ball is something we want to do as a team consistently.”

Here are five things you need to know following the loss:

1.) Utah Is Never Out Of A Game
The Jazz have played Miami twice this season, and both times they’ve trailed by at least 19 points — and both times they’ve used big rallies in the fourth quarter to make it close.

This isn’t the first time the Jazz have dug themselves into a deep hole this season, either. In games against Atlanta, Sacramento, Orlando, and Chicago, Utah has found itself trailing by double digits — and each time they’ve been able to use big fourth quarter runs to make games close in the end.

While it’s never good to fall behind early, a trend the Jazz surely don’t want to make a habit, the team can find solace in the fact that they’re capable of putting together sustained quarters and runs like they did Saturday afternoon.

They got stops on defense by communicating and forcing contested shots, allowing them to get out in transition and find a cutting Gobert or spot-up shooters on the outside. What resulted was a thing of beauty, just a bit too late.

“Where was that? … You can’t be a team that gets down to lock in, you can’t do that,” Donovan Mitchell said. “We’ve gotten to that point a few times, and we got to come out ready. From the jump, we got to be ready to pock in and do what we do. I can’t say we’ve done that. We’ve got two days. … We’ll get better.”

Although Saturday resulted in a loss, Utah has proven once again that there isn’t a team in the league that can keep up when they’re clicking on all cylinders.

2.) Bojan Bogdanovic Breaks Out In Big Way
You could feel it coming.

Bogdanovic came out looking for his shot early on after turning in a season-low eight points against Indiana on Thursday. Although the ball wasn’t cooperating and going through the hoop, you could sense him finding his rhythm and just needing to see one go down.

With Utah struggling, Bogdanovic answered the bell in the fourth quarter as his shooting not only stretched the floor but also set the stage for the comeback. He opened the fourth with a three-pointer, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, and two assists when the quarter ended.

He finished with a team-high 26 points, ending the night 8-for-19 from the floor and 6-of-13 from beyond the arc, adding in six rebounds and three assists.

Emerging as Utah’s second-leading scorer, Bogdanovic has been very steady this season. But he appears to be finding a groove in November, averaging 17.7 points, with three of the seven games coming with him scoring 20+ points.

3.) Jordan Clarkson Saves Utah In The First Quarter
You know Utah is doing well when Jordan Clarkson gets off the bench around the four-minute mark, takes his sweats and jacket off, and checks into the game. That’s his routine, and any deviation from that usually spells trouble in some way.

That’s exactly what happened Saturday afternoon. 

Following a Bogdanovic three-pointer, the Jazz led 5-2 just two minutes into the game. But Miami responded with a 21-2 run to lead 23-7 with just under four minutes to go. Head coach Quin Snyder needed an injection of energy into the team during the run, so Clarkson checked in with 5:28 to play in the opening quarter.

Not only did he end Miami’s run with a three-pointer, but he also scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting (3-for-4 from deep) in the final 3:36. He helped the Jazz climb back into the game and trail by just three.

It was the sort of catch-fire performance that makes Clarkson so deadly off the bench. Once he sees one go down, he can light up the scoreboard in quick and efficient bursts.

4.) Offensive Rebounds Still Hurting The Jazz
Just two nights after Indiana point guard TJ McConnell terrorized Utah on the offensive glass, PJ Tucker and the Heat did the same thing on Saturday.

The Jazz gave up 13 offensive rebounds — 12 of which came in the first three quarters. Although they only gave up nine second-chance points, it was the time and energy exerted on the defensive end after Miami grabbed an offensive rebound that hurt most.

“No matter how locked in you are, if you’re guarding and guarding and guarding and you give up a shot late in the clock, then on top of that not rebounding…,” Mitchell said with a sigh postgame. “We’ll continue to guard, continue to fight. … But when you give up an offensive rebound, then it’s like, ‘damn.’… It’s deflating. Then you miss a shot, and it’s like, ‘damn.’ It’s a compounding thing. … Being able to guard for 24 seconds is one thing, but we’ve got to come up with the rebound.”

5.) End Homestand On High Note
Ten games into the season, and Utah hadn’t played in back-to-back cities, the only team in the top-8 of either conference who had yet to do so.

That’s why the five-game homestand that started last Tuesday was so important. Not only would it allow the Jazz to get into their everyday routines, but it would also allow them to work through some of the early season kinks.

“I think finding consistency, and a good place to do that is being at home for a good stretch, being in a routine you’re familiar with. It’s a little bit easier because you’re a little more familiar with everything,” Conley said last Tuesday. 

Three games into the homestand and Utah finds itself at 1-2 with tough losses to the Pacers and Heat. There are still games against Philadelphia — more than likely with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — and Toronto for the Jazz to salvage a winning record.

More than anything, Utah is looking to put together solid 48-minute games while finding their shooting touch from beyond the arc. If those two things happen, watch out because even despite the struggles, the Jazz still hold the league’s No. 3 offense.


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