The Utah Jazz gave one a way last night versus the San Antonio Spurs. It was a rough night shooting, particularly for Gordon Hayward who went 5-23 from the field and 1-7 from 3. The Jazz will be taking on the leagues 3rd most efficient offense and 5th highest scoring team in the Golden State Warriors. This will be a tough test for the offensively challenged Jazz. The good news, the Jazz defense the last 2 games has been solid. Lets take a look at tonight's match-up....
Defensively-The Warriors primarily run the pick and roll (as does most of the league) with Curry and Thompson both handling the ball. They will also run both players off a lot of baseline screening action. Klay Thompson is shooting the 3 at an unbelievable 50% clip! Steph Curry at 46% That is unreal shooting! The Jazz will have to run both these players off their spots. An idea that I feel could be effective on the pick and roll for the Jazz defense is something the Chicago Bulls do a lot on pick and roll defense. The defender of the ball handler trails off the pick while the screeners man funnels the ball handler to the sideline or the base line. This could be very effective against the Warriors with the length of Favors and Kanter. It causes the ball handler to keep the ball and continue to the basket as the defender continues to trail, making it extremely difficult to pass for the pick and pop, or the roll. If the Jazz run something like this, rotations must be quick and there must be a "help the helper" mentality. The Warriors also have Andrew Bogut and David Lee. Although they are not the focal point of the offense both players can be very good down low. Both are prolific rebounders, thus making it a must for the Jazz to TEAM REBOUND! Golden State does not shoot a lot of free-throws so the Jazz should be able to stay out of foul trouble.
Offensively-Four words...attack & pick and roll. The Jazz MUST do these two things ad nauseum tonight. The Jazz have been very efficient running the pick and roll lately. They are getting great ball movement out of this action and getting whatever shot they want. Just not making 'em. Favors is showing that the pick and roll game is a perfect fit for him and his offensive style. I have noticed some great development in that facet of his game. The best thing about this set, is the way the Jazz have moved the ball out of it. They get in trouble when the rest of the team just watches the pick and roll happen. No one flashing, everyone just spotting up. This hurts the Jazz on two fronts. They are forced in to tough contested shots and they have no one on the offensive boards. The Jazz will need to move the ball, and swing it "weakside/strongside" to be efficient. The Jazz have been pretty good in transition the last two games as well. They will need to continue that against the Warriors. The Warriors bigs are not particularly good in transition, a place that Kanter and Favors can take advantage of and get some easy ones. I would also like to see the Jazz throw it inside to Favors and Kanter a bit more. They are really developing in the post, and teams are having to double them. This will help Gordon and Alec out, giving them more open jumpers.
I loved the way the Jazz have played the last 2 games. One win, one loss. Not going to complain about that, considering the development we are seeing from this young team. It will be interesting to watch Gordon and newcomer Diante Garrett tonight. Both players coming off difficult games. I had a feeling that Garrett may struggle in his second game with the Jazz, considering the first game he had no time to get nerves. He will need to bounce back tonight as the Jazz will need him to produce and spell Alec. I imagine that Ty will start Alec again at the point tonight. Alec's length could make things difficult for Curry. I would also like to see the Jazz be very physical with both Curry and Thompson as this seems to take them out of their game. This game will be a very fast pace and up-tempo game. Should be a lot of fun to watch for Jazz Fans! GO JAZZ
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