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Utah Jazz

EMPYTING THE NOGGIN – Game plan, Execution, Hot Shooting equals a tied series

David Locke

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SUMMARY: A masterful game plan coupled with near flawless execution and shot-making have tied the series at 1

• In the early moments, it was clear this was a different Jazz team than game 1. The looks they were getting were better. The energy was back. Quin Snyder had implemented a game plan and it was working. Gobert was getting dunks at the rim. Open threes were falling and the Rockets weren’t getting three-point looks.

• The Rockets took just 4 of their first 18 shots as three-point shots.

• Quin Snyder changed the rotation. Jae Crowder played exclusively at the 4 with Alec Burks playing the 3, Dante Exum the 2 and Raul Neto as the back up point guard. As the game went on, Quin mixed and matched and went with different variations, but that was how the Jazz started.

• Rudy Gobert had 5 dunks.

• The Jazz lead 36-28 after the 1st quarter. The Jazz were hot. They hit 14 of 22 shots and 5 of 8 from three. Joe ingles had 11 points on 3 of 4 from three. The Jazz stretched the lead to 19 in the 2nd quarter and the offense continued to cook. However, Donovan Mitchell picked up his third foul with the Jazz up 15 and by the time we got to halftime it was down to 9. The Rockets did exactly what the leagues #1 team would be expected to do. They opened the third quarter on a 12 to 3 run and the game was tied. They took the lead out to 5 at 77-72 and then the Jazz re-gained control of the game.

• That the Rockets made a run took what felt like control of the game and the Jazz once again had the resiliency to fire back. This has become the signature of this team. The game was tied 4 more times in the 3rd quarter. The game stayed within one possession until the 6:57 mark when Jae Crowder hit a three off a Donovan Mitchell give. Then the Jazz forced a shot clock violation and Mitchell blew the crowd away with a follow jam on his own miss to make it a 6 point lead. Then after a Harden bucket Mitchell found Joe Ingles for a three and the Jazz lead by 7 with 5:47 left and then before you knew it the Jazz were up 12 with 4:30 left.

• The Rockets went at Donovan Mitchell the entire 2nd half. They got switches and had James Harden attack Donovan Mitchell.

• The Rockets only took 37 three point shots. They usually take 50% of their shots as threes and they only got 37 of 95 (38.9% of their shots as threes) That makes two games in a row they have taken less than 40% of their shots as threes. This only happened 4 times (2x v. Portland, v. Orlando and Toronto) in the previous 87 games the Rockets played. Portland is significant because they play the same style of defense as the Jazz.

• James Harden was 2 for 10 from three. It is only the 5th time this year the Rockets have lost when Harden gets 10 three point attempts.

• 14 is the magic number with three point makes. If the Rockets opponent makes 14 they are the Rockets are only 8-7. When the Rockets make 14 or fewer threes they are 23-14. When they make more than 14 they are 42-4.

• Joe Ingles was unreal tonight. He had a career high 27 points on 7 of 9 shooting from three. Interestingly the Rockets avoided him defensively.

• Royce O’Neal and Dante Exum got the James Harden assignment and bothered him for all 94 feet and made him work throughout the night. Harden still had 32 points on 9 of 22 shooting.

• Alec Burks and Dante Exum on the wings attacking the defense and getting into the paint were mammoth tonight. Burks had 17 points in 22 minutes and Exum hit two mammoth corner threes and brought the house down with a dunk late.

• The Jazz offense is all about getting the blender started and these guys were able to do it from the wings. Moving Exum off the ball was really helpful for his impact on the game.

• Jae Crowder played only at the 4 tonight and was +11 in 33 minutes. I believe that means when both bigs were on the floor the Jazz were -3 and with Favors and Crowder the Jazz were +10. Crowder knocked down shots again. He was 5 of 10 ad 3 of 6 from three.

• Jazz had some great shot making 15 of 32 from three. The Rockets, on the other hand, did not and were 10 of 37.

• Donovan Mitchell had 11 assists setting the Jazz rookie record for assists in a playoff game.

• There is so much more to write about. This was a stunning win. Brilliantly prepared. Jazz were slipping picks and getting on the rim. Jazz were getting the blender going offensively. Jazz were denying the Rockets shots they wanted to take. Then it was perfectly executed by the players who made a ton of shots tonight.

• See you Friday night at Vivint. Going to be off the hook.

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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Utah Jazz

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David Locke

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Utah Jazz

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David Locke

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Utah Jazz

LOCKED ON JAZZ – Mitchell re-signs rookie extension, Favors returns to Utah, Clarkson comes back to lead the Bench

David Locke

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