Utah Jazz Vs. Denver Nuggets Game Seven Preview
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets are preparing to face off in game seven of their Western Conference First Round Series. The Jazz opened the series with a 3-1 lead, before dropping games five and six to set up the win or go home meeting. In the latest episode of the Jazz Notes podcast, Ben Anderson of KSL Sports and Sarah Todd of the Deseret News preview game seven, and how the Jazz found themselves in this position.
You can listen to the entire podcast in the player below.
Preview of Game Seven
Before offering a game seven preview, Todd and Anderson discussed the events that led to the Jazz winding up in a critical game seven meeting.
Todd: Denver got a little bit of confidence from that game five during near the end of the game where the Jazz just fell on their face. It was a few mental lapses, turnovers, and hesitations on shots, and Denver latched on to that. Denver seems to be a momentum team, because that’s all they needed to get confidence, and they’ve run with it. Meanwhile, the Jazz have seemed like they haven’t had any competence at all. And not even that, it feels like they’re relaxed in every area, rather than having been urgent at all in game six.
Anderson: They’ve lacked urgency, and it does come from two guys specifically, but I’ll even point to Rudy Gobert. I think he always plays with a sense of urgency, but sometimes he plays tough, and sometimes he plays less tough. I don’t want to say he’s soft because I don’t think Gobert is soft at all. But sometimes he tries to dunk everything and rolls to the rim hard. And then sometimes he’ll try three-foot layups and he hasn’t been making those. That’s what he was doing in games five and six. But the guys I’m pointing to are Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neal who just have not looked engaged after the Jazz went up three games to one.
Adjusting Jazz Lineups
After sticking with a similar rotation in games five and six, both Todd And Anderson wondered if Quin Snyder will adjust the Jazz lineup ahead of game seven.
Anderson: I wonder if taking Ingles out of the starting lineup and bringing in a guy like Georges Niang whose plus-minus has been good. I don’t know if Niang is a playoff player, to be honest with you. I don’t know if you can have him on the floor in super important moments, but he’s still young and can get to that point. But his plus-minus numbers say he’s been good this series and belongs on the floor.
Todd: I’ve thought about the Georges Niang thing, too, because he has been playing a lot better and his defense has improved. There have been multiple times during this series where Niang’s defense has been very surprising to me. And a lot of credit to him. You don’t have to put him out there if the game is close in the last four minutes, you don’t have to have him out there. But it could be worth it early.
Defending Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray has scored 50 points in two of the last three games in this series, leaving the Jazz scrambling for answers. Todd and Anderson discussed how they would tackle the Murray defensive scheme.
Todd: There is a danger in kind of rotating guys off of him and giving him different looks. The argument for it is that Murray doesn’t get comfortable, and he’s always having to figure different looks things out. But each defender has to also get comfortable and I think that’s the danger there. You want a defender to know his habits and figure them out throughout the game and find out what his rhythm is.
Anderson: I’m abandoning that strategy. I’m just going to put my best guy against Murray and use my best scheme. And the scheme can’t be ‘Let’s do a little bit of everything.’ This game has to be we’re going over or we’re face guarding Murray or we’re going under on everything, but we’re trapping. And we’re going to trust that Nikola Jokic is going to blow passes or we’re going to trust it Jokic taking long twos or driving to the rim is better than whatever Murray is going to do. And right now that is the right answer. Everyone else doing anything is better than Jamal Murray making any decision right now, or taking a shot.
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