Make no mistake, the all-star break got here at an ideal time for the Utah Jazz.
It allowed the gamers to mentally reset, get away from the feelings of the previous month and a half, and put together for the pains of the ultimate six weeks of the common season and past.
However the break wasn’t precisely excellent — and the way may or not it’s after the devastating loss to Los Angeles two weeks in the past. Up by 13 within the fourth quarter, Utah collapsed towards the Lakers, noticed its six-game successful streak finish, and despatched the Jazz into their eight-day trip with some curious ideas lingering.
“You attempt to take time. … I feel actually, like the largest factor is attempting to get your thoughts off it,” Donovan Mitchell stated final Thursday. “With the best way we misplaced to LA, I most likely did not cease eager about that sport till about Saturday, Sunday. Simply due to the way it occurred and simply discovering methods to get again and prepare so it would not occur once more.”
Head coach Quin Snyder admitted as a lot, saying he spent the primary few days of the all-star break having fun with time along with his spouse earlier than lastly watching the sport towards the Lakers and doing what he may to be taught from it.
“We had a tough January. … I feel that that stretch of damage and COVID-19 and a few losses simply can take lots out of you,” Snyder stated. “I feel for everybody, there’s the purpose throughout that point the place you are in a position to form of recharge. I feel it was good to a variety of our guys, even simply mentally and emotionally.”
“I really feel like one thing occurred inside our workforce. … I really feel like we’re a workforce that is attempting to perform one thing.”https://t.co/wdCQceBTuV
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 22, 2022
Most of the Jazz gamers have been in a position to get away instantly following the loss to Los Angeles. Whether or not it was being at residence with household or vacationing to a sunny seaside — apparently a variety of them went to Cabo — the gamers have been in a position to get away from the pains of the sport and heal each mentally and bodily.
For Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, they’d obligations to play within the all-star sport, forcing them to place their holidays on maintain. However as soon as freed from Cleveland, they have been in a position to do the identical factor and took full benefit of the downtime.
“It isn’t even a relaxation. … It is form of a realignment and form of seeing issues otherwise, coming again with a distinct perspective,” Mitchell stated. “Typically being nonetheless permits you to see issues otherwise, permits your ideas to run otherwise, permits your thoughts to form of go completely different locations. Then whenever you come again, you understand, you come again one with a higher appreciation of the sport since you miss it. Then on prime of that, it is such as you come again with a complete completely different perspective, and your priorities and issues are aligned the correct manner and able to win.”
| “That is the mark of a workforce that is composed, and also you perceive you have to undergo adversity to get to the highest.”https://t.co/MC2BQKoFdG
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 23, 2022
Two video games again from the break and everyone’s priorities are aligned and pointing in the correct route.
Utah took down the hard-charging Mavericks and first-place Suns on Friday and Sunday. However probably the most spectacular half was how they completed the wins — doing so in several methods to point out the total power of the workforce.
Mitchell and Gobert dominated down the stretch towards Dallas, overcoming a late deficit to win with protection. The bench was very important within the victory over the Suns, serving to maintain off the Suns late with a highly-efficient offense.
“Our largest enemy is ourselves,” Gobert stated. “Once we play collectively and compete defensively, there’s not a workforce on this league I do not assume we will beat.”
“It feels completely different, it appears completely different, you understand what I imply?” Mitchell added. “I am excited as a result of it is similar to you stroll off the ground you’re feeling gassed, you’re feeling like all the pieces was simply left on the market by everyone.”
Curiously sufficient, Utah overcame a 4-12 document in January to start February with six straight wins — however a variety of that onerous work felt undone following the loss to the Lakers. Now with victories over two of the highest groups within the league, it seems the all-star break greater than did its job for the Jazz.
“This yr, we went by some stuff. … We went by some adversity, and one thing occurred,” Gobert stated. “That shift that occurred, it was thrilling to see that occur. We do not take nothing with no consideration.”
“It is taken us some time to evolve, form of sculpt a distinct identification with completely different gamers and so to have video games like this. … Robust video games, shut video games, towards groups which might be actually, actually good, actually disciplined, play protection, is one thing that may assist us,” Snyder stated.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 28, 2022
8-1 in February pic.twitter.com/LB0ugiFGQn
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 28, 2022
Regardless of the wins, the Jazz are effectively conscious that they will not imply something except they proceed to deal with enterprise shifting ahead.
Utah will now face Houston, New Orleans, and Oklahoma Metropolis of their subsequent three video games. The Pelicans sit at No. 10 within the Western Convention Standings whereas the Rockets and Thunder are the underside two groups.
“We will not cease. … Now we have Houston subsequent,” Mitchell stated. “Are we going to go and play effectively, or are we going to behave like we gained a championship as a result of we gained a few video games? We actually should preserve taking part in the best way we now have been taking part in. … That is going to be essential going ahead.”