Rudy Gobert on Jazz's Loss to Wizards: 'We Haven't Accomplished S--t'March 19, 2021
The Utah Jazz (29-11) have the best record in basketball. The Washington Wizards (15-25) have one of the worst. So Jazz center Rudy Gobert was not happy after Utah lost to Washington, 131-122, on Thursday night.
"We have to realize we haven't accomplished s--t," he told reporters. "We get upset when people laugh at us on TV and disrespect us but it's on us to have respect for ourselves and understand that we're not the champions. We are not a team that can just cruise."
The Jazz started the season 24-5 but have gone just 5-6 since. Amid the cold streak, star guard Donovan Mitchell insinuated after a 131-123 overtime loss vs. the Philadelphia 76ers on March 3—which saw him get ejected for two technical fouls—that the Jazz don't get the same level of respect from referees as other teams:
"It's tough to go out there and see how we fight and compete, and to have a game like that taken from us. I'm never ever one to blame a ref, to blame an official—I can say I could have done more—but this is getting out of hand. ... We're nice. We don't complain. We don't get frustrated. We fight through things, and the fact that we just continually get screwed, in a way, by this.
"We won this game, in my personal opinion. But like I said, I'm going to give them credit. They won. Whatever. Cool. But it's been a consistent thing. ... And it's getting (expletive) ridiculous that this is what's happening."
While Mitchell implied it, Gobert flat-out said that the Jazz don't "get some calls that everybody else in the (expletive) league gets."
"We know that we're the Utah Jazz, and there may be some people that don't want to see us go as far as I believe that we can go," he continued. "It's disappointing. We know that when you're a small market ... it's a little harder. And that's one of the things we've got to overcome. ... But it's very disappointing to be disrespected like that."
The disrespect narrative continued during the All-Star Game festivities, when Mitchell and Gobert were the last two players picked for the contest.
Captain LeBron James said it was "no slander" to the Jazz but added that "just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. Even as great as Karl Malone and John Stockton were, we never would have picked those guys. Never."
Mitchell wasn't playing the disrespect card on Thursday night, however:
And Gobert put the onus on the defense—which allowed Bradley Beal to go off for 43 points and gave up a 35-point, 15-rebounds, 13-assist triple-double to Russell Westbrook—after Washington raced out to a 64-46 halftime lead. The Jazz gave up over 30 points in every quarter.
"We always need to get punched first before we react," he told reporters. "If we want to be a great team we need to be the team that set the tone."