SUMMARY: A brilliant performance from Paul George give the Oklahoma City Thunder a game 1 win in the best of 7 playoff series.
• The Thunder were really good tonight. Namely, Paul George was really good tonight. A lot of the Jazz wanted to do took place tonight and a lot of the areas where the Thunder are really good they were able to control the game and get the win.
• Paul George was the story. He was the best player on the floor by a mile. His first half was great. He was solid on both sides of the floor. Defensively he took Joe Ingles out of the game completely. For the first time all season Joe had no rebounds and no assists. The Jazz pick and roll has been at its best for Joe and he couldn’t get it rolling with Paul George guarding him.
• Then after a really good first half Paul George went bananas in the third quarter. He finished with his 4th highest playoff scoring output 36 point. He set a new personal high with 8 three pointers on 10 attempts. He only took 20 shots for his 36 points. He was great.
• Paul George has a shot in his arsenal that I am not sure anyone else in the game can make. He comes off a pick shoulder to shoulder with the picker who is also handing him the ball and then he stops for a three. The reason I am not sure anyone else has this is because you have to be his size. It is impossible to guard and he gets off it off when he has barely cleared the man giving him the ball.
• The Thunder had a lot going tonight. They hit on 14 of 29 from three, but that is really just Paul George as they were 6 of 19 other than George.
• A lot of what the Jazz wanted to happen happened in this game other than Paul George. Russell Westbrook went 10 of 25 and he got two fast break dunks and other than that did all of his damage in the mid range. He went 0 for 3 from three. The Jazz were committed to not letting him create opportunities for his teammates and for most of the night he had just 5 assists. The game plan on Westbrook was good and was good enough to win the Jazz a game.
• Carmelo Anthony got it going on Jonas Jerebko for a little while but by the end of the night was 5 of 13 for 15 points. Nothing that is going to beat you.
• The Jazz have a significant issue they have to deal with on the offensive glass of the Thunder. Steven Adams is a beast and the Thunder were 7 of 9 on 2nd chances for 19 points.
• The Jazz tried everything on Paul George even to the point that they double him with the ball and tried to rotate out of it. It lead to two Abrines 3 point shots. That is not really who the Jazz are defensively but it got that point that they needed to try something.
• Donovan Mitchell made his playoff debut and was as fabulous as he has been all season. He was unphased. He had 9 points in the first quarter. He finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds. He took deep shots, finished at the rim, hit floaters. He was terrific.
• Donovan left the game with an injury foot and then came back, went out and finished the game. Quin Snyder said after the game they believe nothing to wrong, but they will take more images.
• The Thunder ability to negate Joe Ingles with Paul George is a big concern for me in the rest of the season. I wonder if Quin might stagger Joe into the minutes when Paul George is off the floor so he can have some impact on the game.
• Ricky Rubio finished 5 of 18 and 0 for 3 from three. He was 3 of 13 outside the paint.
• The Thunder have been awful this season when Paul George is on the floor with the bench and tonight it worked.
• Jazz didn’t have a good defensive night. They allowed a 115 pts per 100 possesions.
• The Jazz should be able to get three point looks off against the Thunder and by the end of the night it was 11 of 28 but the Jazz hit a few late to inflate those numbers when the game was out of reach.
• Overall, the Thunder played great and Paul George did what starts do. If one of their stars has a night like these each night it will be a short series. However, if they don’t the Jazz have the foundation on how to win a game in this series.
JAZZ GAME REWIND – Recap of Jazz opening night win in Sacramento
Utah Jazz radio team brings you this short condensed recap of the Jazz opening night win. Voiced by Conner Varney you get a the best moments, the players of the game and the stats of the game.
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Smart shots and wins aren’t easy
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
SUMMARY: Jazz overcome brutal starts to the 1st and 3rd quarter to win in Sacramento ending a streak of 5 straight road opening losses.
- Nothing pretty here. However, road openers are not easy wins no matter who you are playing and I could make a strong argument this is as good as Sacramento will be all year, fresh, fast, at home and geeked for the home crowd.
- The Jazz defense was not good in this game. The Kings ran up the floor on the Jazz and played a great pick and roll game with DeAaron Fox and Willie Cauley Stein
- The league is so good. The influx of talent over the last few years in an era where all the best athletes are playing basketball, the increase of international players and the lack of expansion means every team is really talented. They won’t win a lot of games, but these teams are loaded with talent because the league has never been deeper.
- The Jazz starters had a really bad night. The Kings started the night on a 18-4 run and then went on a 9-0 run to start the 3rd
- Alec Burks, Dante Exum and Jae Crowder changed the game. Alec busted the top off the basket and hit a three and got the Jazz going. Dante’s speed opened the game up and Jae Crowder hit a bunch of big shots.
- Welcome to Rudy Gobert’s new world. Willie Cauley-Stein who has been criticized for taking nights off and being inconsistent was ready tonight and came at the Defensive Player of the Year with the intention of proving a point. Cauley-Stein was terrific. He went into Gobert’s body. His pick and roll with Fox was a problem for the Jazz. From a Kings standpoint it will be interesting to see if keeps that type of focus in games not involving the Defensive Player of the Year
- The Jazz shot distribution was great. Unofficially, I had the Jazz with 80% of their shots as restricted area or 3 point shots. Only 34% of their shots were three point shots but they live at the rim at 46% of their shots. When teams have this shot distribution they win at a very high rate.
- Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert were an offensive force. 14 of 17 from the field. 37 points on 17 shot attempts for Favors and Gobert. That will guarantee a very high level offense if the Jazz can replicate that.
- The bad starts to the 1st and 3rd were a bit unnerving and not being able to put the defensive clamps down was a bit surprising but to be able to have the depth and system to overcome those two things is what separates good teams.
- Donovan Mitchell had a regular night. He struggled to get shots at the rim. He turned it over a bit more. It was a struggle. Yet, his struggle was 24 points on 21 shots. If that is the struggle that is a pretty special player. If he hits one more three all of a sudden it is 27 and it is a big night.
- Joe Ingles was vital in the 2nd quarter to get the Jazz rolling. They went under picks and he made them pay. In the 2nd half the Kings no longer gave him the same looks. 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting.
- AB 3 for 3 from three, Crowder 2 for 4 from three, Dante 1 for 3. These were vital.
- Jazz offensive rating was 116. Defensive rating was 110 and Pace was crazy fast at 106.
- Jazz were 3 of 16 on non-restricted area 2s, Kings were 15 of 36 on non-resticted area 2s. I could make a strong argument that smart shot distribution won the Jazz the game.
POSTCAST – Locke and Boone after the Jazz win the opener in Sacramento
Utah Jazz post game show on the podcast – David Locke and Ron Boone break down the Utah Jazz win. They talk about the great bench play and how they were the key to the win. What went wrong defensively for the Utah Jazz tonight? Plus, the Jazz offensive plan to get Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert the ball at the rim was very important for the win.
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