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Jazz star Rudy Gobert now thinks defense is on ‘right path’ despite getting roasted by Celtics

Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had some stifling comments prior to facing the Boston Celtics on Thursday, claiming his team no longer looked like the defensive powerhouse it has been in years past.

The Jazz recently resorted to yanking Joe Ingles out of the lineup after an initial mandate would have seen newcomer Mike Conley Jr. go into a bench role. Royce O’Neale was inserted into the lineup due to his defense, 3-point shooting ability and synergy with the first unit.

While the Jazz still didn’t come out on top against the Celtics, Gobert claims he has already seen a difference in how the defense is being played:

“I think (the defense) was day and night compared to the last three games. We still have some work to do, but overall we put ourselves in a position where we can win the game,” said Gobert, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “…For the most part, I think we are in the right path defensively.”

“Even if we lost a few games that we think we should have won, we’re still in a good position. We still wanna be a playoff team, and we still think if we do the right things, we can be very good. We’ve gotta figure it out now and finish the season on a high note.”

Gobert, a two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, surely has something to do with how the team responds defensively, but the Jazz have had clear problems closing out on 3s  and attending to the wings, leaving too much responsibility in his shoulders. The Celtics shot 53.6% overall and 11-of-26 from 3-land, so it’s clearly still a work in progress for Utah, even if Gobert thinks the club is headed back in the right direction.

The Jazz have now lost four straight games and are rapidly slipping in the Western Conference standings, something they must nip in the bud sooner rather than later.