UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Biggest Adjustment For Game Two: Shoot Better

Jun 10, 2021, 1:13 PM | Updated: 1:14 pm
Joe Ingles - Utah Jazz...
Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz puts up a shot over Gary Harris #14 of the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter at Ball Arena on January 31, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz don’t seem to have any earthshaking adjustments up their sleeve ahead of game two against the Los Angeles Clippers. Mostly, they just want to shoot better.

The NBA playoffs are often described as a chess match between two head coaches, with each play-caller needing to make the perfect moves and counter moves to see their team advance deeper into the postseason.

Truthfully, now nearly 80 games into the NBA season, there aren’t any secret adjustments teams can throw at one another that they haven’t seen a dozen or so times before.

“There’s no mystery,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of the adjustments he’s seen opposing teams make all year. “We’ve had teams switch one through five against us the entire season. We’ve had teams drop their bigs the entire season. Donovan [Mitchell] has been blitzed in pick and roll the entire season. People have hard-hedged against us the entire season. People have spaced Rudy [Gobert] in the strong corner the entire season.”

Just as different teams had thrown varying defensive looks at them throughout the year, the Clippers employed many of the same strategies in game one hoping to throw the Jazz off their offensive rhythm.

“They started off switching,” Joe Ingles said of the Clippers’ coverages. “They went to hedge I think for a little bit with Donovan and maybe Bojan [Bogdanovic] for a certain part of it. Then they blitzed Donovan randomly a couple of times.”

While the Jazz missed 21 straight shots at one point in the first quarter and made only one two-point field goal in the opening 17 minutes of the game, the team wasn’t unhappy with its shot selection.

“A high number of those 21 were good shots, too,” Ingles said. “I don’t think there were many bad shots taken, and that’s how we’ve played all year. When we have open shots we take them.”

Eventually, the averages started to even out in the second half. After shooting 7-27 in the opening two quarters, the Jazz shot 10-23 in the second half to finish with a respectable 34 percent three-point shooting average.

More importantly, the Jazz fired off 50 threes while committing only seven turnovers. During the regular season, the Jazz were 8-2 when attempting at least 50 threes in a game, and a perfect 3-o when committing seven turnovers or fewer.

So while the Clippers may make adjustments to limit the number of three-point looks the Jazz get, Ingles said his team has a simple approach to game two.

“We’re not planning to miss 21 tonight,” Ingles said. “That was the main thing we talked about in film this morning.”

The Jazz and Clippers tip-off game two tonight at 8 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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