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Jazz HC Sends Message to Lauri Markkanen After Knicks Loss

The Utah Jazz have lost three in a row.
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The doubts are beginning to take root as the Utah Jazz dropped their third straight loss on Tuesday night, falling at home to the New York Knicks, 118-111. The Jazz once again struggled defensively, with the Knicks finishing with 21 fast-break points on the night. 

Kelly Olynyk led the Jazz with 27 points and 11 rebounds, providing a spark over certain stretches of the game that his team badly needed. Lauri Markkanen had another quiet night, finishing just 5-of-11 from the field for 13 points. 

After the game, Jazz head coach Will Hardy addressed whether Markkanen needs to start forcing more shots in order to get into a rhythm. 

“I don’t think he needs to force anything," Hardy said. "Teams are giving him a lot of attention. I think tonight, he got in foul trouble, which took him out of his rhythm. He didn’t get to play as much in the first half as he usually does and that can throw you for a loop sometimes."

Indeed, Markkanen had four personal fouls on the night, three of which came in the first half, clipping his wings early on. However, with Utah's style of offense, the ball doesn't always find its way to Markkanen as Hardy prioritizes the scheme over an indiviual player's production. 

That's not to say that the Jazz don't scheme Markkanen into some looks, but it's not the end-all, be-all of the offense. 

"Also, the way that we’re playing, sometimes the ball isn’t going to find you every time," Hardy said. "We put Lauri in a lot of actions, but tonight, I think it was just the ball didn’t find him in the right moments and that foul trouble in the first half took him out of his rhythm.” 

Utah out-rebounded New York 49-to-43 but wasn't able to capitalize with those additional boards. Utah continues to get caught slack-jawed in transition, and allowed New York to net 19 second-chance points. 

The Jazz have to figure out how to be more disciplined with the ball because giving up 21 turnovers to an opponent will often lead to losses, even at home with the faithful at your back. Hardy grasped at why the Jazz had so many giveaways on the night. 

“I think there’s moments where early in the clock, we’re not maintaining our space," Hardy said. "We’re very tight. Sometimes we have two people cutting, or trying to post up early in the clock. And then I think [we’re] just making decisions a little bit late. We’ve talked earlier in the season about, sometimes the moment of decision is there, and if you take an extra dribble and a half in the NBA, the length can swallow you up if you get too close to the basket. So it’s a lot about the timing of our decisions, and trying to continue to do a better job of maintaining our spacing, especially early in the clock.” 

The Jazz now get two full days off at home, which will afford the team with the precious opportunity to actually practice and iron out these wrinkles that opponents have quickly figured out how to exploit. Next up, the Jazz host the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. 

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