Utah Jazz vs. Philadelphia 76ers 11/7: Jazz give lackluster effort in loss

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 3: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 3, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 3: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 3, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz lost their third straight game to the surging Philadelphia 76ers. The final score of 104 to 97 is more than deceiving with arguably the worst Jazz performance of the season.

After a historic night from James Harden on Sunday, the Utah Jazz fell to the Houston Rockets by 27 points in what many hoped would be an embarrassing loss to serve as a wake-up call. The Jazz were supposed to come out angry and ready to play hard and prove they can contend.

Instead, they came out flat. They came out empty. They came out lifeless.

The 76ers were missing their best (Simmons may already be better) player Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons was having his way throughout the game with highlight alley-oop passes and easy dunks.

They had two 30-point quarters against what was heralded as the “best defensive team”. If this defensive performance continues, we’ll be lucky to be a top 15 defense.

What’s wrong with this team?

It’s really hard to say what the problem is in one article. We could point to shooting woes or a lack of an offensive star. But I don’t think that really covers it. We aren’t turning the ball over like we were before (12 last night). We had 15 assists, which is okay (but really not great). We lost the battle of the boards.

Our shooting was abysmal. At this point, it’s safe to say that our rookie shouldn’t be taking more than 20 shots per game. But it wasn’t just his shot selection. There was a real lack of ball movement and a lot of isolation from players who shouldn’t be doing that kind of thing (Joe Ingles, for example).

Lineups and rotations

The starting unit continues to struggle together. It lacks playmaking, spacing, and shooting. It also lacks a go-to scorer. We got off to another slow start and allowed Philly to get out to a huge lead early in the game. Once down 16, we couldn’t ever dig ourselves out.

I’m looking for Quin to change the starting lineup in the near future. Joe Ingles may be better coming off the bench and Mitchell starting, or sliding him down to the four spot and having Rubio, Mitchell, Hood, Ingles, and Gobert for a small ball club. I’ll let him make that decision, but something probably needs to change.

More than anything, I personally believe that a lot of Jazz players are feeling a heavy weight that they just plain aren’t used to carrying. Hood is probably not quite ready for the mantle. Ever since his off-shooting night against Portland, he hasn’t really looked good at all.

We’re really asking too much of Joe Ingles. He’s definitely a glue guy capable of a lot of things, but he is not a guy that can carry a team.

There’s probably also something to be said about line-ups. Interestingly, Donovan Mitchell started the second half in place of Hood.

I don’t know the reasoning from Coach Q, but it looked like he was finally willing to experiment with his rotations last night. We also saw Neto more than we previously had.

It can’t be that bad, we only lost by seven, right?

Wrong. We trailed by as many as 18 late in the third quarter.  From there, I actually predicted we’d make a comeback run.

I wasn’t entirely wrong. At that point we started to have a little bit of life. Thabo Sefalosha deserves some credit for high energy. He spearheaded our attempt to come back.

After a careless inbound pass very late in the game, the Jazz actually almost had a chance to bring it to a one possession game. Donovan Mitchell missed a layup, but it wouldn’t have mattered at that point and I’m not sure the Jazz would have deserved an overtime, let alone a comeback victory.

Shooting woes

Last night, the Jazz attempted nine more field goals (99) than our previous season high of 90. Oh, it must have been a fast-paced game where both teams put up lots of shots! Nope, 76ers attempted only 81.

We shot 30.3% from the field and were 9 of 39(!) from the three-point line. A couple of late baskets actually saved us from having the worst shooting performance in Utah Jazz history.

On what was one of the worst possessions of the game, in my opinion,  was a great pass to a cutting Rodney Hood in an alley-oop attempt. Rodney fumbled the pass and didn’t connect for the finish. No problem, he was still wide open RIGHT UNDER THE BASKET. Instead of elevating and going up strong to finish,  in what surely would have been a three-point play or at least two free throws, he passed it out and we came up empty.

That same sequence, or a similar one, has played out more than once now with Rodney Hood.

Next: Utah Jazz Report Card: Player grades through Utah’s first 10 games

In the end, this was a very frustrating and disappointing night for the team and for fans. The ship needs to be righted, and fast, or we may find ourselves in a funk that’s difficult to break.

A gritty attitude and positive team chemistry are crucial to success for a team that’s only real strength is defensive tenacity. With multiple days off, let’s hope Quin is able to figure some things out.