Dillon Brooks on Utah Jazz: ‘A couple of guys, I think, couldn’t guard me’

Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

Instead of sulking, the Utah Jazz should gobble up bulletin board material.

Here’s the current bad news for the Utah Jazz: historically, teams that win Game 1 of a best-of-seven series in the NBA Playoffs wind up winning the series 76.2 percent of the time.

What’s the good news? Well, to be frank, there really shouldn’t be any in light of Sunday night’s 112-109 home loss to the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies. But for the sake of positivity, No. 1 seed Utah could choose to take solace in the fact that Game 1 winners on the road, specifically, go on to win the series only a smidge more than 50 percent of the time.

Actually, scratch this comforting outlook altogether, for there’s really no sense in the Jazzmen feeling even a teensy bit of consolation right about now. No, they lost. Both the battle and homecourt advantage. To a No. 8 seed that they swept, 3-0, in the regular season.

Simple as that.

All eyes on Utah Jazz deficiencies

Further amplifying what ought to be a wake-up call, Game 1 often resembled a blowout in the making before the Utah Jazz’s desperate attempt to climb back from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Right on cue afterward, cutthroat fans of other franchises then began taking noticeable pleasure in the upset by howling told-you-so Jazz tunes on social media.

Of course, the pile of excuses engulfing Salt Lake City — e.g., no Donovan Mitchell in the lineup, Rudy Gobert fouling out with 4:25 remaining, the group’s 12-for-47 anomaly from deep — just added fuel to the naysayers’ song and dance.

Yet outside observers weren’t the only ones noting Utah’s apparent fraud-like flaws. Rather, a member of the opposition, who just so happened to be the contest’s leading scorer in Dillon Brooks, voiced one shortcoming in particular that he witnessed firsthand along his smooth path to dropping 31 points in what was his first-ever playoff appearance.

He didn’t name names. That said, when speaking to the NBA on TNT crew minutes after his looser and more ambitious Memphis squad delivered the series’ first blow, Brooks did seem to dismiss some Utah Jazz defenders as little more than traffic cones:

“Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, they love to stay in the paint. I was just getting to my spots. Then a couple of guys, I think, couldn’t guard me. I was just getting to my spots and just figuring out different shots that I work on every single day.”

Brooks surely wasn’t alone in this mindset.

Several of his teammates — namely, Ja Morant, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson, plus the spark plug of the pivotal opening stretch to the fourth quarter in former Jazzman Grayson Allen — could have said the same about Utah’s routinely heavy-footed defense.

In general terms, though, Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder alluded to what he evidently views as largely correctable miscues on both ends of the floor:

“I thought we competed. I didn’t think we executed on the level that we need to. In this moment. In the playoffs. And I think our guys know that. We know the things we need to do better. That’s what you take from it: the biggest thing is we lost the game, and understand the things we either didn’t do or need to do better in order to correct that and come out and win Game 2.”

Now, if Snyder’s bunch doesn’t snag a W in Game 2, then the chances of avoiding league-wide humiliation by advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals will nosedive.

Yes, teams that go up 2-0 in a series emerge victorious more than 90 percent of the time. Again, while that all-time clip is closer to 85 percent for lower-seeded teams after winning the first two games on the road, this certainly isn’t the juncture for glossing over the cold, hard truth.

dark. Next. The 50 greatest Jazz players of all time

The truth of the matter at this point? Excuses are futile. And without considerably more do-or-die resolve from this moment forward, the Utah Jazz’s brilliant regular season will soon be, like so many before it, all for naught in leading to postseason success stories.