Jazz, Mitchell Hope For Adjustments For Game 2 In Houston

Apr 17, 2019, 4:11 PM
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz shoots over PJ Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets in the secon...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz shoots over PJ Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets in the second quarter during Game One of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center on April 14, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, Texas – After a 32-point loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs, the name of the game for the Utah Jazz is making adjustments.

At shootaround on Wednesday, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell spelled out the changes he hopes to make for Game 2.

“I’m going to make some adjustments, plenty of adjustments, but the biggest thing for me is being able to find the open man,” said Mitchell. “I think once you do that, everything opens up.”

Attacking The Switches

How Mitchell responds to the defense that Houston throws at him will be key to Utah’s success in the second game of the series and for the rest of the series, for that matter.

When the Jazz have the ball, Houston’s strategy is to switch defenders coming off of picks and screens. Sometimes it may be advantageous for Mitchell to attack at these moments, other times, it may not be optimal.

When it comes to learning when to go and when not to, Mitchell credits teammate Ricky Rubio for showing him the ropes. He also learned a lot from playing as the primary ball handler when the Jazz were heavily depleted at point guard during the regular season.

“Honestly that’s one of the tougher things with the offense, attacking the switches I should say, I think that’s one of the tougher things. And playing them so many times you kinda get used to it. You kinda have a sense now of when to go, when not to go,” said Mitchell. “I credit Ricky for that because he figures out when to attack and when to get guys shots and I think I’ve kinda taken that upon my game. Obviously when we had the three point guards out I had to kinda do something similar to that in nature. So coming into the playoffs right now, I think I have a better idea of when to do it.”

Staying Tough Mentally

While it can be deflated to lose a game by over 30 points, Mitchell says that bouncing back mentally in the playoffs is different than the regular season. Knowing that there are still games to be played adds a lot of perspective.

“It helps when you know that it’s a series. I think you process it differently in the regular season than you do in a series, understanding that you can’t do nothing about it. You can’t sit there and sulk because that’ll play right into their hands. For us, we got to be able to find a way to bounce back and make adjustments,” said Mitchell, who had 19 points in Game 1.

The whole team, from the players to the coaching staff has all weighed on what needs to change in Game 2 and Mitchell feels confident about Utah’s chances.

“All of us have given our input on what we’ve seen and what we think we should do. The coaching staff is great and phenomenal as far as listening to us as far as giving us their input as well. We have a great team chemistry that allows our coaches and allows our teammates to give their opinion and constructive criticism and that makes it a lot easier when you have guys that want to help each other out,” said Mitchell.

Broadcast Info

Game 2 between Houston and Utah will tip off Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. and be broadcast on TNT.


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