SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – My, how quickly things can change in the NBA.
The Utah Jazz had been cruising along, winning 19 of 21 games, moving all the way up to the 2-seed in the Western Conference.
But last week, the Jazz hit a defensive slump, losing four straight games to Houston, San Antonio, Denver and Portland, and have fallen to fourth place in the West.
But as they prepare to take on the Nuggets Wednesday night, Jazz hope to learn from what has gone wrong these past four games.
“Anytime you can still feel the pain of a lack of execution, or not having success in any given situation, it allows you to focus,” head coach Quin Snyder said.
The focus needs to be on defense, seeing how the Jazz have given up at least 124 points in three of its four straight losses.
“I think it’s a collection of a number of things,” Snyder said. “It’s just urgency and resolve. We’ve been in situations in these last couple games where we’ve had leads, but we’ve also had breakdowns.”
In its next three games, the Jazz (32-17) get a shot at revenge against three of the four teams that defeated them last week, Denver, Portland and Houston.
“Losing to them means we need to do something different, or do what we were doing better,” said forward Joe Ingles. “I think having these two days will be good, go back out there tomorrow and have another shot at winning.”
“We realize those teams are hungry,” added all-star center Rudy Gobert. “But we are hungry too. It’s on us to keep getting better, and we’ve got to finish strong before the break.”
With the trade deadline looming on Thursday, the Jazz are not expected to be very active, but there could be a surprising move.
“It’s that time of the year when there’s a lot of rumors and stuff,” Gobert said. “There’s definitely less speculation than last year for sure. But you never know, sometimes it comes out of nowhere.”
“When you have roster movement around the league, it impacts you as well,” Snyder said. “I think indirectly and tangentially, you’re aware of it. I don’t have a Twitter account, so I’m not checking that. Maybe I should get one. But for me and for our team, I’d like us to stay focused on the things that we can actually control.”