A huge comeback in an NBA game — to pick a random number, let’s say from 18 points down — is not a one-sided exercise.
That’s how fans see it, how coaches often see it. Stan Van Gundy looks at how Orlando lost to Utah 104-94 Wednesday night after leading by 18 and sees his team blowing it. Utah fans will look at it and say their team finally started putting it all together and the big runs were the result.
In reality, it takes a little from column A, a little from column B to make these kinds of things happen.
It does take complacency, it does require taking your foot off the gas for Orlando to blow this one. And Van Gundy has every right to be ticked off at his team for this — they almost did the same thing to Charlotte the other night, and then took no lessons forward. Or, they could have just watched the Jazz comeback on Miami from 24 hours before and realized the Jazz will not just roll over once down.
This is three games in a row the Jazz have come back from 18 or more down to win.
Part of why the Jazz can do this is they make smart adjustments — Jerry Sloan started posting up Deron Williams in this one and it was something the Magic never really adjusted to. (Against the Heat it was sort of the opposite, the comeback came when Williams started getting run off picks more off the ball.)
Once the Jazz started having success inside guys like Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson just took off. Then the game had shifted, there was a 9-0 Jazz run followed closely by a 13-0 run and suddenly Stan Van Gundy was envying his brother’s job.
Coasting a little when you’re ahead is an issue for a lot of contending teams (the Lakers barely beat Minnesota last night, the Heat blew a big lead to the Jazz). The Magic are not immune, there will be games or times in games when they don’t feel challenged and they relax. Something dangerous to do in the NBA because even Minnesota has Kevin Love a roster full of guys who can score if left alone. There’s too much talent in this league to ever really relax.
The Jazz, they already have the personality of their coach — they are scrappers. There will be more come-from-behind wins because of that. But they could use a win where they were the team up 18 early someday, too.