UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Want Controlled Urgency In Game Four

Aug 23, 2020, 6:27 PM | Updated: 6:37 pm
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson drives past Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (Photo by Ash...
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson drives past Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz have a chance to put a stranglehold on the Denver Nuggets in game four of their opening-round series. The Jazz have won each of the last two matchups in blowout fashion and should expect an urgent Nuggets team in the critical meeting.

Denver showed a lack of interest in the Jazz blowout game three victory. The Jazz ballooned a four point lead into 13 at the half thanks to a late 9-0 run, and the Nuggets seemed all too interested to pack their bags and call it a night. The lead climbed to a staggering 39 points before losing the game 124-87.

As is, the Nuggets will have to win three out of the next four games to win the series, a  daunting task for a roster that has had no answer for the Jazz perimeter scorers. After Donovan Mitchell’s scored 87 points during the teams’ first two meetings, late addition Mike Conley added 27 points to lead the Jazz in game three.

Jazz Want Controlled Urgency In Game Four

With the Nuggets backs against the wall, the Jazz can expect a more engaged performance from a team fighting for their playoff lives. With Denver facing a near must-win situation, Jazz coach Quin Snyder wants to see his team match the Nuggets desire.

“I know our team has a sense right now that every game is important,” Snyder said. “And if somehow or another, the importance of the game were to overwhelm playing well, That would be problematic. But I think our focus, hopefully, works equally urgent regardless of where the series lies.”

The Jazz have gotten off to hot starts in each of the last two games, leading Denver by two after the first quarter in game two, and 11 in game three. Snyder said he’d like to see his team continue to play their brand of basketball, regardless of Denver’s urgency.

“At some point, we have to do what we do,” Snyder said. “And know that it’s going to be difficult. Then just play through that.”

Denver Outshooting the Jazz

The Jazz lead the NBA in most offensive categories in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, one stat may surprise onlookers. Denver is outshooting the Jazz from the three-point line in the series.

The Nuggets lead the league in three-point shooting percentage during the postseason and a scorching 44.4 percent. That leads the third-ranked Jazz who stand at a very respectable 42.2 percent of their own.

The problem for Denver, they’re only attempting 35.3 three-point attempts per game, good for tenth best in the NBA. By comparison, the Jazz are shooting 42.7 threes each out, the third most of any playoff team.

The Jazz are making 2.3 more three-point attempts per game than the Nuggets, which translates to seven additional points.

Denver’s other issue? Their best, and second most prolific three-point shooter is Michael Porter Jr. has slowly worked himself out of the rotation with a lack of effectiveness on defense. Porter was replaced by forward Jeremi Grant to being the second half of Denver’s blowout loss in game three.

Porter is shooting a staggering 55.6 percent on six attempted threes per game but continues to be the focus of the Jazz offensive attack whenever he steps on the floor.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone will need to find a better way to mask Porter defensively in game four, or ask his other shooters on the roster to fill the void if Denver hopes to hang with the Jazz three-point happy offense.

Ahead of game four, Malone announced Porter and guard Torrey Craig were moving to bench roles in favor of forward Jerami Grant and Monte Morris.

Game four tips off at 7 pm MT. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT and locally on AT&T SportsNet.

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