In a long season, it's difficult to pinpoint one game as the one that ruined a season. But last night's Jazz loss at Minnesota may just be that.
The Jazz could have gone into the all-star break with a .500 record and feeling good about a rare road win against a pretty good team. All they had to do was hold on to a 16-point 4th quarter lead. But when Luke Ridnour's floating buzzer-beater fell through the basket, any momentum the Jazz had built over the first half of the season was officially gone.
At the beginning of the year, most Jazz fans would have gladly taken a .500 team at the all-star break. But after Utah teased everybody with a 9-4 start, fans started dreaming of higher aspirations. Since then, they've lost 13 of 19 games, and are a dreadful 3-11 on the road.
With six days to think about their most disappointing loss of the year by far, Jazz fans can't be confident their team will come out on fire in the second half of the season. Afterall, six of their first eight games after the break are on the road. Uh oh. The Jazz might not see a .500 record for the rest of the season.
The Jazz have the tools to turn this season around. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are forces down in the paint. Earl Watson has played fearlessly. Josh Howard is starting to look like the Josh Howard of old. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter continue to develop. But unless they can find consistent outside shooting and learn to play better perimeter defense, this season could come to grinding halt quickly.