Jazz Focused On Health Against Spurs
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz have their first-round playoff matchup locked up. That means their game against the San Antonio Spurs, the last game of their eight seeding games in Orlando, is nearly meaningless. The result of the game won’t change what the team’s future weeks look like, or who they will face in the postseason. As ar result, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he is focused on his players’ health before next week’s opening round.
“The most important thing for us as we head into the playoffs was to be healthy,” Snyder said. “I think being rested is part of being healthy.”
The Jazz rested guard Donovan Mitchell against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. No Jazz starters played in the second half. Last Friday, the Jazz sat Mitchell, Mike Conley, Royce O’Neale, and Rudy Gobert against the Spurs in a 119-111 loss.
Now, the Jazz will look for rest against the Spurs once again. Before Thursday’s game, the Jazz announced that neither Conley or Gobert will play.
“The odds are that when you get into the playoffs, that people are going to get banged up again.”
The Jazz have not announced how many minutes they plan to play Mitchell, Ingles, and O’Neale, who are all available for Snyder. Though with little to play for, protecting their health will likely be a priority.
Developing a Second Unit
In addition to monitoring the team’s health, Snyder hopes to continue to develop the Jazz young bench. Without Bojan Bogdanovic, the Jazz are missing one of their top contributors, and a player capable of earning 35 minutes per game in the playoffs.
“The second thing for us was to really begin to evaluate and try to develop a bench,” Snyder said. “The last time we played the Spurs we had two guys, Miye Oni and Terrelle Brantley, who got real minutes and were able to guard.”
Both Jazz rookies recorded career-highs in minutes, points, and rebounds against the Spurs. Despite the statistical output, Snyder said the key to earning playing time was defense. The Jazz coach used veteran guard Joe Ingles as an example for the team’s rookies.
“Joe came into the program without lofty expectations and is a guy that first got on the floor because he played defense,” Snyder recalled. “Then got on the floor longer because he could shoot, then began to be more of a playmaker.”
Both Oni and Brantley have diverse skillsets that they have been able to display with the Salt Lake City Stars, however, proving their willingness to defend, while hitting open shots may be the key to finding the floor.
The Jazz and Spurs tip-off at 4:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT and locally on AT&T SportsNet.
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