The Jazz were embarrassed in Houston on Sunday. The scheduling wizards have blessed the Jazz with two full days of rest between Games 1 and 2, and 2 and 3, so the Jazz hopefully have outprepared the Rockets and got some shooting reps in. I won’t recap last game, rehash individual performances, or go over strategy, as we have talented writers who’ve already written extensively on those topics. I’ll just provide this:
When: Wednesday, Apr. 17 2019 • 7:30 PM MDT
Where: Toyota Center • Houston, TX
TV: TNT (National), AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain, AT&T Sports Net-Southwest
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone, 740 AM
Dante Exum — Torn patellar tendon — OUT
Thabo Sefolosha — Left Hip — QUESTIONABLE
Kyle Korver — Knee — PROBABLE
None - wow.
What to watch for
The Bench Battle
A lot has been said about this, but it bears mentioning again: Utah’s bench was horrible in Game 1. Thabo Sefolosha scored three points shooting 1-of-6; Royce O’Neale had two points shooting 1-of-5; Jae Crowder had nine points, but he shot 1-of-9 (1-of-7 from 3); Kyle Korver looked horrible coming off the bench and didn’t even get off a shot attempt. As a whole they tallied 18 points on 15.4% shooting. This is Houston-in-game-seven levels bad - per stats.nba.com, the Jazz bench normally puts in a league average 36.5 points on 43.4% shooting. The Rockets on the other hand had the worst scoring bench in the league - a paltry 27.1 ppg on 40.7% shooting. Even after the acquisitions of Iman Shumpert and Kenneth Faried at the deadline, the Rockets barely have improved in this regard (28.3 ppg, 41.7%). Of note is the plus minus statistic: while the Jazz and Rockets benches were both top-ten in terms of overall plus-minus over the entire season, since the all-star break, the Jazz and Rockets’ benches are ranked 1 and 2 in plus minus, respectively, even though the raw scoring numbers haven’t changed much.
Joe Ingles was critical to the Jazz’s success in the post season last year, getting into the head of Paul George and raining down 27 points and 7 threes in the Jazz’s lone win against the Rockets in Game 2 in last year’s round 2. Even though Joe is getting older by NBA standards, and his league-leading iron man streak has likely caused him much wear and tear over the seasons, we absolutely need Joe to step up and shoot much more than 4 times. As the Jazz’s best shooter, he has to be even more aggressive against a team that will continue to focus their defensive efforts on Donovan.