SUMMARY: The Utah Jazz eliminate any likely scenario of having home court advantage with a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers
- After a sluggish first quarter the Jazz regained control of the 2nd game in the 2nd quarter with a solid defensive quarter (allowing 20 points) and good ball movement that lead to great looks. However, the Jazz blinked to open the 3rd quarter and the Lakers took control of the game and stunningly the Jazz were never able to get control of the game.
- You have to be good to beat an NBA team. The Lakers are playing really hard. Every guy they are rolling out is either a free agent or trying to establish themselves as an NBA player and in turn are playing for their careers. When you don’t make that effort you end up in trouble. It has happened to both the Clippers and the Jazz the last two games the Lakers played.
- The Jazz brought Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell back in the game with 10 minutes left in a 4 point game and they never got control of the game. Instead Kentavious Caldwell-Pope became an offensive juggernaut and the Jazz couldn’t get a stop.
- The Jazz defense was not good tonight.
- The Lakers did some things to the Jazz offensively that felt different. The Jazz struggle the most offensively this year against Houston who generally switches all picks. The answer to teams that switch or trap is often to never set the pick and then they aren’t able to switch if the two players never come together. What the Lakers did (it seemed without re-watching the game) was bring a third player into the play who stopped the drive. Lots of teams bring a third player into the play and that is usually a wing to deal with Rudy’s roll while taking the big over to the driver (usually Donovan). This leaves a smaller guy on Rudy and he usually dunks. The Lakers kept the big on Rudy. I don’t think the Jazz got more than 1 or 2 Rudy lobs all night and then brought the third guy to the ball. The Jazz found the open corner 3 for most of the 2nd quarter and the beginning of the 3rd but the Lakers adjusted to that and the Jazz didn’t get it later.
- The Jazz went 0 for 7 on above the break three point shots in the 4th quarter
- KCP went 4 for 4 in the mid range in the 4th quarter and then capped it with a great pass to McGee for a dunk. It is nearly impossible to take away all 3 levels (3pt, mid range and rim) at the same time. The Jazz take away the three and the rim (that is smart). When Caldwell-Pope gets going in the mid range it eventually forces you to pull the big up a step to alter his shot and then McGee sneaks behind the big for the dunk. That is exactly what happenend.
- Huge sequence of the game early in the 4th The Jazz lead by 2 when Jae Crowder drove the basket and missed a layup and fell to the ground. The Lakers came back 5 on 4 and Mike Muscala hit a three. On the next possession Jae missed a three and tried to draw a foul falling to the ground. Again it was a 5 on 4 and this time KCP hit a three that would get him rolling. The Lakers now lead 89-85 and Quin went to Rudy and Donovan but the game had swung and the Jazz never got it back.
- The NBA got wacky tonight. Denver sure seems to have purposely lost to Portland with the hope of having Houston slip to the 4th seed and Portland move up to the 3rd However, the risk for Denver is if they lose on Tuesday they could slip to the 3rd seed behind Houston. From a Jazz standpoint, the strange thing is if the Jazz are trying to pick their opponent they have very little control, but whatever control they have would be out the window if they won Tuesday. A in on Tuesday would lock the Jazz into the 5th spot. There is chance still for OKC to get the 5th seed. If OKC beats Houston and Milwaukee and the Jazz lose out then the Jazz go to 6th and OKC is 5th. If this happens and Portland wins out then Denver’s master plan has worked and the Rockets slip to 4. If that happens there is a chance the Jazz would prefer to play Portland than Houston and could lose on the final night of the year on purpose. It is a bit nuts.
LOCKED ON JAZZ – Why so passive? How Harden blows up the Jazz defense? Donovan Mitchell 2nd year playoffs
The Utah Jazz are getting ready for Game #3 v. the Houston Rockets. David Locke, the radio voice of the Utah Jazz and Jazz NBA Insider takes a look at why the Jazz looked so passive in Game 2 in Houston. Then Locke digs into what makes Harden so unique and why he has blown up the #1 defense in the NBA. Locke also takes a look at what other 2nd year players like Donovan Mitchell have done in their 2nd year playoff season.
LOCKED ON JAZZ – How good is Houston? Jazz can’t hit open shots. Facebook Live questions
The Utah Jazz have been blown out in both of the first two games of their first round series with the Houston Rockets. David Locke, the radio voice of the Utah Jazz and Jazz NBA Insider tries to figure out what has happened and why it has happened. Plus, it is a live show so Locke takes your questions from Facebook live.
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Opening stretch tells the strory
Summary: The Jazz start poorly, the Rockets pounced and Harden was amazing it all lead to a Rockets blow out of the Jazz.
- The Jazz opened the night turning the ball over on 4 of their first 8 possessions. The Rockets scored 10 points on those 4 turnovers and that would tell the story of the night. The Jazz trailed 12 to 4 at the first time out.
- Then Harden went nuts. He is incredible. He never misses a read. In Game 1 the Jazz took away the step back and free throws. In the first quarter he had as many step backs and as many free throws as he had all of the first game. I really have no idea how you are supposed to guard him, He was 5 of 11 on step back tonight. He makes those at 40%. You have to take that away but the only way to do that is to play him from behind and force him into a drive.
- He has become the perfect modern player. The league values the three. He can make it at nearly 40%. The league knows you can’t afford to have a 40% three point shooter take 15 to 20 threes a game so you have to play him in this strange manner to force him to drive. Harden would take 20 threes if you let him. No one has ever had his three point shooting step back coupled with his handle and his passing. This just destroys the defense. When you force him to drive he has the floater game and he reads the defense perfectly.
- The Jazz defense failed in transition tonight. According to cleaningtheglass the Rockets averaged 1.7 pts per transition and only .94 in the half court. The .94 is a little above average but the Rockets are usually much better than that in the halfcourt. They are the #2 halfcourt team in the NBA. So the Jazz halfcourt defense was actually ok tonight.
- The Jazz offense is where things should be most concerning. The Jazz were not able to score with regularity against the Rockets in the playoffs last year, they weren’t able to score against them in the regular season and they haven’t been able to score against them tonight.
- The Rockets offense averages about 116 pts per 100 possessions. Even if the Jazz have a great defensive night hey will be around 108 but the Jazz offense v. the Rockets all season has been below 1 point per possessions. Until that is fixed it is hard see a scenario where the Jazz defense can hold the Rockets offense down far enough to win a game.
- The talk around the Rockets is that they are a better team than a year ago. A year ago they won 65 games and were a Chris Paul hamstring or a glutton of missed 3s away from winning the title.
- The Jazz average .74 pts in the half court
- Rubio and Crowder are a combined 2 of 14 on open threes.
- The Jazz came into the night 22 of 100 on above the break three point shots v. the Rockets this year. It continued again tonight as the Jazz shot 6 of 27 on above the break 3 and some of those were late.
- The Jazz have lost the first two games by 52 points. The Rockets look to be capable of winning the title
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