Despite winning six of seven games, the Utah Jazz did not like the momentum they gained during league intermission.
Blowing a late 12-point lead and losing to a Los Angeles Lakers team finishing uninjured Anthony Davis ruined a sweet six-game winning streak.
“It’s an unfortunate way to go into the All-Star break,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after the 106-101 loss at Los Angeles.
Coincidentally, the Dallas Mavericks – which the Jazz play in Salt Lake City on Friday night – also entered the break with a 6-1 record in their last seven games. That included two straight road games — 107-99 at Miami and 125-118 at New Orleans.
Luka Doncic was the hot topic for the Mavericks during the All-Star festivities. Doncic scored 49 with 15 rebounds against the Pelicans. It capped a terrific 10-game streak in which he averaged 35.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.8 assists.
“Luka set the tone early and often,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “We can sit here and talk about him all day. The things he does on the pitch for himself and his teammates are amazing. We’ve used every noun and adjective to describe his game. He just gets better.
Doncic, who has scored at least 45 goals in three of the last four games, was the opponent of jazz center Rudy Gobert in Sunday’s All-Star Game. He scored eight for Team LeBron, while Gobert had six points for Team Durant on three dunks, including a surprising 360 slam. (Donovan Mitchell, who was on the LeBron team, was a latecomer with a non-COVID-19 illness.)
They once again became enemies of the NBA with a common goal: to earn a top-four seed and home-court advantage in the playoffs. The Jazz, who won Game 1 this season 120-116, currently sit fourth in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of the fifth-placed Mavericks.
“The first game after the break is always super important. We have to try to keep doing the things we’ve done well and improve on the things we’ve been trying to improve since before the break,” Dwight Powell told Mavs.com. “We’re going to be up against a great team (Utah) with a lot of weapons and a lot of defensive ability, so I think that’s a good way to get in there and take on this challenge.”
Utah hopes Los Angeles wasn’t a preview of the problems that would plague them heading into the playoffs. But it was the 10th time the Jazz had lost after losing a 10-point lead.
“We have done a lot of good things in the last two or three weeks. We have work to do as a group,” Mitchell said. “But I think we can look back, especially last month, even though January was tough, and say, ‘OK, like, we can really do some things. A night like this is disheartening.
The Jazz will need Gobert and Mitchell to be on the same page. They have played down reports and rumors that their locker room chemistry issues are serious or threaten title aspirations.
“It starts with me and my big one,” Mitchell said in a podcast with Yahoo. “If we ultimately want to win a championship, it will start with us.”
–Field level media
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