No need to panic: Utah Jazz sitting pretty despite heavyweight losses

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

These latest Utah Jazz troubles are nothing that several swishes can’t fix.

After nine straight Utah Jazz wins in previous weeks, the league leaders (38-13) appear to some to have fallen on hard times this week.

Because via road losses to the Dallas Mavericks (28-22) and Phoenix Suns (36-14), the Jazzmen have come up empty in confirming their prowess against possible playoff foes and now own only a 1.5-game cushion atop the Western Conference standings.

Plus, largely due to the Jazz’s combined 23-for-88 clip from deep (26.1 percent) across these past two outings, they are suddenly in danger of their first three-game skid this season.

In addition to that potential clear sign of a step in the wrong direction, Thursday’s 8 p.m. MT meeting with the Portland Trail Blazers (30-20) could mark the end of Utah’s franchise-record 22-game home win streak.

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However, in the grand scheme of things, there’s no sense in Jazz head coach Quin Snyder tinkering with much of anything — at least not anything major. Rather, as the 54-year-old suggested to the media following Wednesday night’s 117-113 overtime loss versus the second-place Suns, his veteran-laden cohesive bunch just needs to grow from its hurdles:

“The competition is what allows you to get better. We’ll certainly look at this and pick up some big-picture things as well as some of the smaller things in various plays. But it’s good to be in games like this…These are the types of games you want to be in. You want to feel what it’s like to be in them. You want to figure out how you can win them.”

Utah Jazz sensation Donovan Mitchell, who left Phoenix with a game-high 41 points that included a clutch 3-point bucket to force five extra minutes in the heavyweight bout, evidently shares the no-panic approach. The two-time All-Star expressed as much, particularly in regards to his team’s patented 3-point attack, after a second valiant comeback effort in as many games:

“We believe in what we do…The fact that we need to play another game [in less than 24 hours], we can’t really dwell on this loss too much.”

Ideal opportunities ahead for the Utah Jazz to heat up again

With 21 games remaining on the Utah Jazz slate before the postseason arrives, the path ahead ranks as the easiest in the NBA.

Outside of the Portland Trail Blazers, this next five-game homestand is full of opponents with losing records. Furthermore, of the nine remaining games on the road, six are against teams currently in the bottom third of the Western Conference.

Finally, as an added bonus — when it comes to a valuable playoff-esque experience, anyway — the Jazzmen will have another shot on April 30 to show that they are capable of lights-out shooting on the Suns’ home floor and incapable of suffering a season sweep.

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After all, among all of the playoff-caliber teams out there, Phoenix (2-0 vs. the Jazz) is the only one Utah has not yet beaten.