After blowing a 21-point lead to the Warriors last weekend, the Utah Jazz knew they had to have a meeting to clear the air.
The Jazz has made a habit of blowing fourth-quarter leads throughout the season. When the Jazz suffered an ugly 111-107 loss to the Warriors, the meeting the Jazz held in the locker room of their practice facility set the tone for the playoff challenge that lies ahead.
“We got to sit together and just be honest with each other,” Gobert said about the meeting, per The Athletic. “It was the whole team. And for us, the bottom line was really the communication during the game. We’ve been playing well for three quarters; I mean, we’d be first in the league if the game ended after the third….”
“Obviously, the good teams step up in the fourth,” Gobert continued. “But still — we’re not a shitty team.”
Gobert said the players broke down some of their problems to continue communicating and staying connected on both ends of the court even when things aren’t going well. The Jazz also has work to do on maintaining positive body language and embracing the moment and opportunities they have during games. Above all, the Utah Jazz needs to stay on the same page.
Coach Quinn Snyder also summed up what he thought was the issue during a 19-minute monologue before the Jazz’s showdown with the Grizzlies. Snyder fought back at the notion of the Jazz blowing leads, although they have surrounded double-digit leads in 15 of their 32 losses, Snyder says the fact the Jazz have also won three out of the seven games where they blew a fourth-quarter lead needs to be apart of their narrative too.
“I think everyone felt like — we all felt like — we need to talk,” Gobert said. “We know, obviously, there’s always going to be teams and people in the media trying to divide us. We know, and we’ve seen it in the past.”
Besides hashing out their problems, the most positive note about the meeting was that the Jazz won their next game. The 121-115 victory boke the Grizzlies’ seven-game win streak, bumped Utah up to the fifth spot in the Western Conference playoff standings, and clinched their place in the playoffs. The win wasn’t perfect, the Jazz didn’t close out the Grizzles like they would have preferred, but they played hard enough to escape with a narrow dub.
“That’s what was great about it,” Gobert said. “I think a lot of teams have those (meetings). It’s man to man. It’s great. We all need that, whether it’s your wife or your teammates or your friends, sometimes. It’s great to just express yourself.”