Bubble Boredom Adds Excitement To Games For Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – You may have noticed a new level of exuberance from NBA players on the sidelines during the first two days of games within the NBA’s Orlando campus. While the NBA was vigilant it making arrangements to keep its teams entertained within the bubble, league players are using bench celebrations durig games to show their excitement about returning to the floor.
Even some of the more routine NBA highlights have turned into opportunities for players to show their support to their teammates from the bench.
While the added energy from the sidelines may be an attempt from the players to make up for the lack of crowd once in the empty arenas, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder said the atypical living arrangement has brought a new level of excitement from the players on the games themselves.
“I think basketball becomes something guys really look forward to,” Snyder said. “Even though you have some spirited practices. The games are the reason we’re here.”
The Jazz were strangers to sideline celebrations during their season reopening win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Little used players on the Jazz roster danced during successful finishes at the rim. Meanwhile, others were quick to hop over the digital video board during timeouts.
The increased focus on the league’s return may be responsible for the slew of competitive games upon the league’s return. Despite a fourth month hiatus, seven of the league’s first eight games played in Orlando have been decided by 10 points or less, with two games having gone to overtime.
Focusing On Oklahoma City Thunder
The added excitement about the games within the bubble has turned the Jazz focus to the Thunder. The Jazz were set to take on the Thunder on March 11 in Oklahoma City. However, Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test suspended the NBA season.
The Thunder present a unique challenge for the Jazz who look to force their opponents into tough midrange shots. With a trio of talented guards in Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder, the strategy can backfire for the Jazz.
“They’re so good from the midrange,” Snyder said. “They are not a typical team. You may think you’re [succeeding] giving up a two-point shot that’s not at the rim or not a three, but for these guys, those are almost like layups for them.”
Oklahoma City has one of the league’s most balanced scoring attacks. Second-year guard Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team at 19.3 points per game. Forward Danillo Gallinari averages 19.2 points per game, while Schroder adds 19 points of his own.
The Jazz and Thunder tip-off at 1:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and locally on AT&T SportsNet.
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