Quin Snyder warned his team: just because the Brooklyn Nets were missing one superstar didn’t mean they lacked star power.
In the end, however, it was a lesson learned the hard way, as the Utah Jazz suffered a 130-96 loss in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
“To begin with we didn’t have urgency,” Snyder said afterward. “I don’t think there was really anything we did well.”
The Nets entered the game having lost four of their last five games and missing All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who was in quarantine after a close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. But Snyder cautioned against taking the Nets lightly as a result of all of that.
“It’s hard to say they’re better without him when you’re talking about a Hall of Fame player, one of the best players this league has ever seen,” Snyder said. “At the same time, they’re different and you have a player of Kyrie’s ability.”
Kyrie Irving proved Snyder right in the first quarter. The All-Star guard scored 18 points (7-of-7 shooting) and dished out three assists in the opening quarter, putting the Jazz in a 21-point hole in the process.
While Brooklyn blistered the nets with 70-percent shooting, the Jazz managed to connect on just 19 percent of their looks in the first period. In the end, it would be a hole too big for the Jazz to climb out of.
Mitchell and the Jazz showed some resolve in the second. Mitchell scored 11 points in the quarter. Still, Utah found itself trailing 63-44 at halftime.
“Certainly, there was a lack of intensity and focus on the defensive end in the beginning of the game,” Snyder said.
A steady dose of Caris Levert and Jarrett Allen kept Utah’s comeback efforts at bay. Allen had 19 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and two blocks by the end of the third quarter. Levert, meanwhile, scored 14 points in the third.
“We just didn’t do too much right today as a whole,” Mitchell said.
Don: 31p | 4a | 4r | 3 3pm
JC: 12p | 2 3pm | 2r | 2s
Rudy: 11r | 10p | 3a | 2b
Royce: 10p | 5r | 2 3pm
Mike: 8p | 5a | 2 3pm
Joe: 7p | 3r | 2a
Elijah: 5p | 2r
Bojan: 4p | 3r | 1a
Derrick: 4r | 2p | 1b pic.twitter.com/alCKH7krAN
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) January 6, 2021
• A condensed NBA season promised to be a challenging one. For Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, one of those challenges is simply finding time to practice.
Right now, the Jazz find themselves on a seven-game road trip, playing seven games in 10 days. Snyder and his staff have circled Jan. 12 as the next possible practice date.
“There just have to be ways to get better,” Snyder said.
The Jazz are prioritizing film as a result, using downtime to work on their game in a way that saves their legs.
“We’ve tried to break down and have smaller film sessions, similar to football and positional groups,” Snyder said. “It could be guards, wings and bigs, or combinations like Mike and Rudy. … Then you just try to be judicious about your time. At practice, you really have to look at what you’re trying to accomplish and what your priorities are. That’s at the forefront of your mind.”
Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash is feeling the same pinch.
“This is going to be the craziest NBA season ever,” he said. “We’ve already seen some wild scores and oddities. I think it’s about trying to be adaptable and continuing to work through things. Learning through our games … is essential.”
• Second-year Jazzman Juwan Morgan was held out of action Tuesday due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Nets, meanwhile, were missing superstar forward Kevin Durant due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
“Obviously Kevin is upset to miss time,” Nash said. “He’s worked his way back after such a long time and then to miss games like this is frustrating for him.”
One great thing about the NBA? You don’t have to wait long for redemption. The Jazz are back at it Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The game against the New York Knicks tips off at 5:30 p.m. MT.