The Utah Jazz were without the services of starting point guard George Hill in their OT loss to Harrison Barnes and the Dallas Mavericks.
Thursday night was a tough one for the Utah Jazz. Despite leading by as many as 21 points in the game, the Jazz crumbled down the stretch, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in overtime, 112-105. Watching the sordid affair unfold was akin to witnessing a car crash. However, there were some extenuating circumstances.
While some questionable plays at the end of regulation, i.e. Rudy Gobert’s sixth foul and Alec Burks’ critical turnover, will leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths, the back-to-back factor and some key injuries loomed large in the game.
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The team was especially affected by the loss of George Hill, who missed the contest due to soreness in his previously injured left toe and rest.
Before the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder talked about Hill’s importance to the Jazz. He made clear the fact that Utah would be at a big disadvantage without his services.
“We miss George, you know, tremendously,” he said. “He’s been an anchor for us. We miss his shooting. We miss his defense. We miss his ball handling. You look at our turnovers — pretty much across the board, we’re a better team with him, and significantly so.”
Hill previously missed 13 games with the toe sprain. In total, he’s missed 25 games with various injuries. When he’s been healthy, he’s been one of the better point guards in the league, averaging 17.7 points and 4.1 assists per game.
In his absence, Dante Exum was given the start against the Mavs. And while any extra minutes he can get are a good thing, Snyder gave him just 18 in Dallas. Meanwhile, Shelvin Mack played 24 off the bench. He was effective as the Jazz built their lead in the second quarter and finished with seven assists, but neither he nor Exum could compensate for Hill’s absence.
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The Jazz will be back at home on Saturday with a game against Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics.