San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz: Takeaways from ugly road loss
By Albert Pérez Oyola
The feel good victory against the Portland Trailblazers turned out to be short-lived, as the San Antonio Spurs regressed to getting blown out by the Utah Jazz on the road 139-105.
There’s no easy way to say it – the San Antonio Spurs played horrendously against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. The Jazz were simply doing whatever they wanted during the basketball game. The team came into the game 26th in the league in three-point percentage and ended up shooting almost 61% from beyond-the-arc. The defense simply hasn’t gotten any better.
In the last four games, the Spurs have allowed 128, 136, 118, and 135 points respectively – this is not a winning formula. The team is often scrambling too much on defense being reactive to the plays instead of being proactive – they just can’t seem to figure out what the opposing team will be throwing at them on any given play.
It's been a month since the Spurs won consecutive games.
In their last 3 losses, they've trailed by 48, 38, and 37 points at times.
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) December 5, 2018
Not to re-open any wounds, but in the last three losses, the Spurs have trailed by as many as 48, 38, and 37 points. The team isn’t just losing games, but getting embarrassed at an almost nightly basis.
Bryn Forbes was virtually unplayable against the Jazz, there’s just no true role for him in the starting lineup. There are currently no true playmakers on the team. The best passer is Pau Gasol, and he’s out with an injury, but he’s a liability in many other areas on the court anyways.
Coach Popovich may have to start exploring with utilizing Forbes from the bench, and inserting Derrick White into the starting unit as he provides better defense and appears to have established some chemistry offensively with LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge and White were barely on the court together against Utah, but for a few minutes during the first half.
The Jazz couldn’t miss from the opening tip, hitting threes at a high clip with contributions from every player that stepped on the hardwood. Donovan Mitchell led the team with 20 points, and hit four threes, Rudy Golbert finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and luckily for the Spurs did not attempt a three. Newly reacquired Kyle Korver came off the bench to score 15 points and an avalanche of threes (three, but it felt like 80).
The @utahjazz catch fire and set a new franchise record with 20 3's made in the home win! #TeamIsEverything pic.twitter.com/I7dBUWYsFE
— NBA (@NBA) December 5, 2018
Long story short, the Jazz had six players drain multiple threes and 10 different players made at least one three for a total of 20 threes (franchise record) at a 60% clip – good luck defeating that.
In the middle of all this Spurs darkness, Jakob Poeltl showed up to play. Poeltl scored a career-high 20 points, to go along with seven rebounds, and a block. He has now been the team’s leading scorer in a couple of blowouts.
Not much of significance happened from anyone else. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge both dropped 16 points with DeRozan dishing out seven assists. Davis Bertans had a chance to double-double at halftime, but finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Jakob recorded a career-high 20 points tonight in SLC!#GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/eXzqOByt2e
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 5, 2018
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Where do we go from here?
We must come to terms that this team may not be as good as we initially thought as the Spurs return to 14th place in the Western Conference more than a quarter into the 2018-2019 NBA season. The potential outcomes for this season are not entirely terrible, we’ve at least eliminated any scenario in which this team reaches the NBA Finals, and if that’s the case, why not try to get a lottery pick?
The team could turn it around. The Spurs still have two All-Stars on the team and a cast of talented players whose skills are still rather raw with arguably the best coach in NBA history providing mentorship and leading the way.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem like 2019 will be our year, but 2020 could very well be – and letting the Spurs snatch a lottery pick may signal bad news for the rest of the league.
The Spurs must employ some short-term memory as they travel to Los Angeles to take on LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday night (9:30pm CST).