Jazz Ready For Clippers Zone Defense In Game Three

Jun 12, 2021, 5:39 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm
Los Angeles Clippres forward Kawhi Leonard plays defense (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)...
Los Angeles Clippres forward Kawhi Leonard plays defense (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will be ready for the Los Angeles Clippers zone defense when they see it in game three.

The Jazz built a 21 point lead in game two before the Clippers switched to the zone defense in the third quarter. Los Angeles quickly erased their deficit and took a two point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

“At the start of the zone we weren’t very good,” Jazz guard Ingles admitted. “I think we got a bit stagnant in it and looked at Donovan [Mitchell] to make a play each time. As the quarter went on, and the zone went on, we figured out some things.”

Though the Jazz ultimately emerged with the game two victory, the Clippers, who have been desperate to find a lineup or strategy at will work against the high-powered Jazz offense, are likely to revisit the zone defense in game three.

If they do, the Jazz will be ready.

“I think we had the highest offensive rating of any team in the league this year against zone,” Quin Snyder said. “It certainly didn’t look like that the other night.”

Over the final nine and a half minutes of the third quarter, the Jazz scored just 17 on 5-15 shooting, after opening the quarter 4-5 from the floor over the two and half minutes.

Though the Jazz didn’t turn the ball over, they regularly found themselves taking tough shots late in the shot clock leading to easy run-out baskets for the Clippers. Los Angeles scored 31 points on 11-15 shooting over the final 9:30 of the quarter to trim a 21 point deficit to just seven going into the final quarter.

“I thought our spacing really broke down,” Snyder said. “We didn’t execute well against the zone, we didn’t pass the ball well, we didn’t pass it accurately, our decisions were too slow.”

It wasn’t until Ingles took over the lead ball-handling duties late in the third quarter and into the fourth that the Jazz simplified their attack, running pick and roll with Rudy Gobert that reignited the team’s offense.

“We’ve got to make sure that the ball is positioned in the right place so that we can be spaced the right way,” Snyder said.

“More focus on our part, better execution, and hopefully watching some of the tendencies and some of the ways that they play their zone on film can be very beneficial.”

The Jazz and Clippers tip-off at 6:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on ABC.

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