Down 0-3, O’Neale Says Jazz Are Taking It ‘One Game At A Time’
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After dropping Game 3 to the Houston Rockets on Saturday, the Utah Jazz find themselves in an 0-3 hole and face elimination in Game 4.
They’re facing nearly impossible odds to keep their playoff hopes alive. While it’s been done in other sports, no NBA team has ever won a playoff series after losing the first three games.
According to Jazz forward Royce O’Neale, the team isn’t thinking about the need to create history to stay afloat.
“Just take it one game at a time,” said O’Neale, when asked after practice on Sunday about the team’s mentality. “3-0, we got Game 4 ready tomorrow so when you’re focusing on that, you’re not looking forward or behind us.”
Be there tomorrow.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 21, 2019
Jazz Play Better D On Harden
In Game 3, the Jazz narrowed the deficit to just three points in the loss. In Game 1, they lost by 32 and then fell by 20 in Game 2.
They played their best game of the series for more than half of the contest, but ultimately faded down the stretch.
A big reason why Utah was able to make it a better game was poor shooting night by Houston superstar James Harden, who missed his first 15 shots of the game.
James Harden said the Jazz did a lot of talking during the first three quarters last night, which he shrugged off. “Once I saw the fourth quarter, I hadn’t made a field goal and they were only up by two, they was in trouble.” pic.twitter.com/YeGMTPxGFI
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 21, 2019
O’Neale feels that overall, the Jazz played Harden well, even though he came alive in the fourth to make some key baskets.
“We did a great job on him, making things tough for him. He hit some tough shots at the end, made some plays but it’s basketball so you know it’s going to happen so we just got to be prepared for the next game. Can’t think about it too much,” said O’Neale.
Mitchell Encouraged By Teammates
Late in the fourth quarter, the Jazz had a chance to tie the game with Houston leading 102-99. The ball was inbounded to a wide open Donovan Mitchell, who fired a 3-pointer with about eight seconds remaining in the game. The shot was missed, Houston rebounded the ball and the game was essentially over.
Even though Mitchell missed the shot, O’Neale says the ball was in the right hands at the most critical moment.
👁 of the ⛈ pic.twitter.com/v0QR603rzM
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 21, 2019
“10 times out of 10, I want him to take that shot again. He just happened to miss it, if he would have made it, it would have forced overtime,” said O’Neale. “After Game 1 and Game 2, he was down on himself but we brought him back up. Being young, he’s one of the leaders on the team. We got to encourage him to bring that energy and don’t worry about a missed shot, keep playing, fight through everything. That’s what he’s doing.”
Game 4 between Utah and Houston will tip off Monday at 8:30 p.m. at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The game will be broadcast on TNT.
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