Jazz Face Tough Test Making Adjustments After Win

Aug 21, 2020, 12:57 PM
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder talks to Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder talks to Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It wasn’t difficult the find the adjustments the Utah Jazz needed to make after a game one loss to the Denver Nuggets. The Jazz needed to slow down the two-man game between Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, continue to battle Denver on the defensive glass, and find a way to keep Rudy Gobet out of foul trouble.

In game two, the Jazz found mostly positive results. Murray added just 14 points on 13 shots attempts, Jokic finished the game with a -23 plus-minus, and the Jazz outscored the Nuggets 13-11 on second-chance points.

More importantly for the Jazz, they evened the series at one game apiece, and Donovan Mitchell further established his stranglehold on the Nuggets defense. With positive winds at their back, the Jazz can’t simply remain stagnant in game three. The chess match that is playoff basketball can’t simply be conversations of moves and counter moves. Jazz coach Quin Snyder must remain a step ahead of the Nuggets for the Jazz to win the series.

Snyder on Jazz Adjustments Ahead of Game Three

Before game three, Snyder talked about the difficulties fo making adjustments to a gameplan after a win.

“There are certain things that jump out at you after a loss,” Snyder said. “And in many cases, if you do something well, you want to repeat it.”

In a perfect world, the Jazz wouldn’t have to make adjustments to their gameplan. The Jazz outscored, outshot, out-assisted, and out-executed the Nuggets. But Denver will bring their own adjustments to the table to counter what worked for the Jazz.

“It’s a little bit like a game one situation where there isn’t a baseline,” Snyder said. “Both teams are trying to kind of impose their will and do what they do well.”

But the coach said not every adjustment has a clear and obvious impact on the stat sheet. In a single game sample size, a team may execute well, but not see the result they hoped for statistically.

“It’s not necessarily what you’re doing but how you’re doing it,” Snyder said of asking his team to make adjustments. “And finding that balance of, ‘Hey you know what, that’s sound. We just need to do it better.’ Or, ‘We need to try to do something a little different to help our guys.’ And finding that balance is always something you recognize and try to find as a coach.”

Predicting the Nuggets Adjustments

Part of preparing for a playoff game is predicting what the opposing team will try to exploit in the next matchup. The Jazz have repeatedly taken advantage of Denver’s ineffective perimeter defense, getting into the paint or finding open shooters. Similarly, former Jazzman Paul Millsap has been outmatched against the Jazz starting lineup.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone hinted at a series of issues the Nuggets needed to remedy to ahead of game three. Despite Malone’s comments, Snyder said the Jazz can’t be overly reactionary to one or two examples of game film.

“I think that the most important information is what you see on the court,” Snyder said. “And that involves not just watching game one or game two, but things that a team is successful at doing through the course of the year.”

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