SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It all started last Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Trey Jones makes a lay-up with seven seconds left, and the Jazz lost by four, 126-122.
Two nights later in San Francisco, the Jazz missed three free throws in the final minute and lost to the Warriors, 112-107.
Friday against Sacramento, Kevin Huerter made a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in the game, and Jazz lost by one point.
The next night against the Miami Heat, tied at 123, Tyler Herro knocked down a running 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Jazz lost again.
But last night may have been the toughest loss of the season. De’Aaron Fox hit a layup with .4 seconds left to give Sacramento a 117-115 lead. Jarred Vanderbilt launched a pass downcourt, and Lauri Markkanen appeared to hit a spectacular shot at the buzzer, but it came a few tenths of second late, and the Jazz losing skid hit five.
“When you look at a five-game stretch, and you can put together eight plays total in five games that if they went the other way, you’re on a five-game winning streak,” said head coach Will Hardy. “The margin between winning and losing in this league is very, very thin.”
“If we make one more shot and they miss one, then we win five in a row,” added center Kelly Olynyk. “That’s just how the game goes.”
To make matters worse, the Jazz should have had .5 or .6 seconds left when Fox’ shot went through the net, which would have made a difference.
“I thought there was a little more time on the clock,” Olynyk said. “Obviously Lauri made an unbelievable shot and Vando made an unbelievable pass. We thought we won the game obviously.”
So after losing five straight games by a combined 15 points, the Jazz have no choice but to move on, and try to change the bad mojo they’ve been experiencing starting Thursday night in Houston.
“It hurts right now and it should,” Hardy said. “Losing sucks, and if losing doesn’t hurt then you shouldn’t be here. I continue to be amazed by our team’s resolve and ability to just battle every single night.”
“It’s a long season,” Olynyk said. “Obviously it stings and hurts. But if you let it get to you, then it’s going to turn into a lot bigger problem.”
The Jazz are now 19-21, two games under .500 for the first time this season.