“Our Biggest Enemy Is Ourselves” | Mental Reset Has Utah Realigned For Bigger Things

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 trials of the ultimate six weeks of the common season and past.

However the break wasn’t precisely good — and the way may it’s after the devastating loss to Los Angeles two weeks in the past. Up by 13 within the fourth quarter, Utah collapsed in opposition to 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 mentioned final Thursday. “With the best way we misplaced to LA, I most likely did not cease fascinated 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 does 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 together with his spouse earlier than lastly watching the sport in opposition to the Lakers and doing what he may to study 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 mentioned. “I feel for everybody, there’s the purpose throughout that point the place you are in a position to sort of recharge. I feel it was good to plenty of our guys, even simply mentally and emotionally.”

Most of the Jazz gamers had been in a position to get away instantly following the loss to Los Angeles. Whether or not it was being at house with household or vacationing to a sunny seaside — apparently plenty of them went to Cabo — the gamers had been in a position to get away from the trials of the sport and heal each mentally and bodily.

For Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, that they had obligations to play within the all-star sport, forcing them to place their holidays on maintain. However as soon as freed from Cleveland, they had been in a position to do the identical factor and took full benefit of the downtime.

“It is not even a relaxation. … It is sort of a realignment and sort of seeing issues in another way, coming again with a unique perspective,” Mitchell mentioned. “Generally being nonetheless permits you to see issues in another way, permits your ideas to run in another way, permits your thoughts to sort of go totally different locations. Then whenever you come again, you already know, you come again one with a better appreciation of the sport since you miss it. Then on high of that, it is such as you come again with an entire totally different perspective, and your priorities and issues are aligned the precise approach and able to win.”

Two video games again from the break and everyone’s priorities are aligned and pointing in the precise path.

Utah took down the hard-charging Mavericks and first-place Suns on Friday and Sunday. However essentially the most spectacular half was how they achieved the wins — doing so in several methods to indicate the total power of the workforce.

Mitchell and Gobert dominated down the stretch in opposition to 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 greatest enemy is ourselves,” Gobert mentioned. “Once we play collectively and compete defensively, there’s not a workforce on this league I do not assume we will beat.”

“It feels totally different, it appears totally different, you already know 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 every little thing 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 plenty 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 way of some stuff. … We went by way of some adversity, and one thing occurred,” Gobert mentioned. “That shift that occurred, it was thrilling to see that occur. We do not take nothing as a right.”

“It is taken us some time to evolve, sort of sculpt a unique identification with totally different gamers and so to have video games like this. … Robust video games, shut video games, in opposition to groups which might be actually, actually good, actually disciplined, play protection, is one thing that may assist us,” Snyder mentioned.

Regardless of the wins, the Jazz are effectively conscious that they will not imply something until they proceed to maintain 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. … We now have Houston subsequent,” Mitchell mentioned. “Are we going to go and play effectively, or are we going to behave like we received a championship as a result of we received a few video games? We actually must hold taking part in the best way we’ve got been taking part in. … That is going to be essential going ahead.”

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Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been constructing and tweaking desktop computer systems for longer than he cares to confess. His pursuits embody folks music, soccer, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no specific order.