The Rockets have had an answer for everything the Utah Jazz have thrown at them defensively. Whether it’s Clint Capela helping to neutralize Rudy Gobert, or James Harden’s never ending whistle, or Chris Paul’s devastating mid range game, the Rockets have had the answers.
Tonight the Jazz came out with a solid game plan and held Harden to 24 points on 8/22 shooting. You’d think that that would be enough to get a win over the Rockets. But the Rockets are able to counter with Chris Paul scoring 27 points on 12/23 shooting, almost all of which was in the mid range where the Jazz try to keep opponents. This makes it difficult for the Jazz to make any headway against the league’s most efficient offense.
The Jazz did have some bright spots. Donovan Mitchell bounced back and had a nice game scoring 25 points with 9 rebounds and 2 assists. But it’s become very apparent that Mitchell has really missed Ricky Rubio in the series. Without Rubio’s high level playmaking and, yes, his shooting, it has made it difficult for the Jazz offense to run as smoothly as it normally does. Asking a rookie guard to lead an offense against a top 10 defense in the playoffs is probably asking too much. That Mitchell has done as well as he has is pretty remarkable.
Another frustration in the game was Dante Exum leaving with an injury. His drive game was what kept the Jazz in it in the first half and his defense against Harden has been as good as you’ll ever see. If he’s out for Game 5 it limits Quin Snyder’s options even more.
Joe Ingles showed up more tonight and played a team leading 40 minutes. Without Rubio the Jazz have run out of options and Ingles shooting and playmaking is more needed than ever. Tonight, Ingles had 15 points but was only 2/7 from three. A far cry from his 7/9 night that fueled the Jazz victory in Game 2.
Another interesting note. Jae Crowder got the start tonight to help with Derrick Favors who’s nursing a turned ankle. He was 1/11 but only had a -9 for the game so his defense actually showed up very well. When Crowder is hitting shots the Jazz are very tough. Tonight he wasn’t.
Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets Game 4: Post Game Reaction
Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets Game 4: Post Game ReactionPosted by SLC Dunk on Sunday, May 6, 2018