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The Excruciating Jazz Season Comes to a Predictable End

The Utah Jazz season has ended following a 98-96 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 at home.

The Jazz played one of their better games of the series, fighting until the last buzzer, but Luka Doncic and the Mavericks had too many answers for them.

With questions regarding the team’s roster design, coaching staff, and front office, the organization, now enters what is expected to be a turbulent offseason.

Jazz is haunted by familiar foes.

Throughout the season, the storylines that plagued the Jazz in losses reared their ugly head once more in their season-ending matchup with the Mavericks.

Despite having a double-digit lead at halftime, the Jazz was outscored 36-19 in the third quarter and faced an uphill battle in the fourth.

The loss was the Jazz’s 18th this season after leading by double digits and their 15th in the second half when leading by double digits.

The Mavericks’ third-quarter surge was driven by hot three-point shooting, as the Jazz could not match up with another five-out perimeter attack. In the first quarter, Dallas made 8-12 three-pointers to outscore the Jazz by 17 points in 12 minutes and never looked back.

Last season, the Jazz were aware that they had trouble protecting the perimeter in their season-ending defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers, but they did nothing about it over the offseason.

The Jazz tied the game twice in the fourth quarter but could not overcome Dallas due to a lack of offensive performance. Despite restricting the Mavericks to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, the Jazz only mustered 24 points on 8-22 shooting and 1-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks made all six field goals in the fourth quarter, hitting 6-13 from three-point range and 0-3 from inside the arc.

During the season, the Jazz had the top offense in the league, but in the fourth quarter, they were ranked 10th. Similarly, the Jazz had the 10th best defense during the season but fell to 15th in the fourth quarter.

Throughout the season, the Jazz players committed to resolving these issues and spoke of a time in the future when their in-game woes would be resolved.

Quin Snyder often stated that he wanted the Jazz to play their best basketball in the playoffs, but despite having a squad that was finally healthy, they fell short for the third year in a row.

The Jazz eventually postponed their difficulties until later in the season, when they finally glanced down and realized there was no more room to kick the can down the road.

The Excruciating Jazz Season Has Come To An End

The Jazz season has come to a close, with tremendous expectations on the club less than a year after entering the playoffs with the best record in the NBA.

The season failed at practically every level, with few people involved with the franchise escaping blame.

Last offseason, the front staff failed to address apparent defensive adjustments, causing the team to be embarrassed on the perimeter multiple times in the first three games of their opening-round series against the Mavericks.

The coaching staff for the Utah Jazz neglected to diversify the team’s methods, instead opting to stick with the same playbook that failed to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoff series.

 It also failed to provide enough growth opportunities for youngster Jared Butler following a strong preseason performance, leaving the Jazz with a largely unknown asset moving into the summer.

In critical moments, the Jazz players who did see the floor failed to follow the coaching staff’s game plan, ditching the top offensive rating in the NBA for selfish, me-first basketball.

The team’s ownership also made an oddly timed front-office acquisition, bringing in veteran Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge in the middle of the season with no clear indication of what the new face of the front office planned to do with the team.

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Even though the Jazz made no significant transactions before the deadline, Ainge’s mere presence loomed like the Sword of Damocles over the heads of the roster’s players.

The outcomes in the court were considerably worse.

The Jazz lost four of their next five games in mid-November after starting the season with a league-best 7-1 record. They never reclaimed their top spot.

 COVID-19, injuries, and whispers that Donovan Mitchell wanted off the roster if the Jazz didn’t get it out of the first round derailed a dreadful 4-12 January for the Jazz.

The club bounced back from a demanding January with a fantastic 8-1 February, only to relapse to an 8-9 March and an 11-11 finish in the fourth quarter.

During the team’s January downturn, Rudy Gobert made some untimely remarks about his teammates’ weak defensive practices compared to the league-leading Phoenix Suns.

During practice and after games, Gobert and Mitchell had to frequently address one another’s comments with the media, as the two faces of the franchise never seemed to shake their “unsalvageable” image, regardless of its reality.

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The Jazz’s players reacted angrily to media allegations about the team’s performance and cohesion, resorting to Twitter to respond directly to reporters.

 Coach Quin Snyder pushed hard against the use of specific statistics to illustrate the team’s tale, only to cite several inaccurate data in a lengthy speech about the Jazz’s disintegration.

Snyder’s soliloquy included an evaluation of the squad’s several blown double-digit leads, 18 of which resulted in defeats for the team. This featured games against the Mavericks, in which the Jazz led 60-50 in the second half but lost 104-100, and Game 6, in which the Jazz led 53-41 at halftime but lost 104-100.

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The Jazz significantly underperformed this season, separated by only a few nice winning runs, and it came to a fitting finale against a scrappier, albeit less talented Mavericks club.

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