James Harden shot 3/20 from the field and the Utah Jazz lost the game.
But those aren’t the reasons the Jazz lost.
The Jazz could not hit open shots and turned the ball over throughout the game.
As much as people have talked about the Jazz defensive scheme, it’s the offense that has really failed them all series. Tonight, Utah shot 12/41 (29%) from three and had 14 turnovers. Utah also shot 25/38 from the free throw line (65%). If Harden had had a big shooting night, Utah might have had another blowout loss.
Jazz are 27-of-105 from 3-point range in the series, which seems kinda relevant right now.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 21, 2019
For the Rockets, even with Harden having such a bad shooting night, everyone else was hitting big shots. If you subtract Harden’s 2/13 shooting from three, the Rockets shot 13/33 (39%) while the Jazz without Mitchell’s 4/12 shot 8/29 (27%).
If there was one silver lining, Rudy Gobert was spectacular in this game. If anyone had questions about how he impacts the game, even against a team that has answers to what he does well, it was tonight. Gobert flirted with a triple double with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 7 blocks. He was the reason Utah was even in the game. He looked like he had a better idea of how to guard the Harden PnR better than ever. Sadly, being down 3-0, it’s probably too late. Next game, and next season, he’ll have another chance.
If anything, you can look at Houston and their trio of James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela as the mold the Jazz can follow. Have two pick and roll ball handlers that have an elite screening/finishing big and shooters surrounding them. If the Jazz can make that happen, they can be as elite as any team out there.
It’s going to take a big offseason from Dennis Lindsey, though.
Maybe that’s the silver lining from this game. The Jazz have two core pieces as good as any duo out there, they’re just missing that third guy along with role players that can hit shots. Dennis Lindsey has set this team up to have the flexibility to do whatever it needs to this offseason to get better and become the contender they want to be.
Kyle Korver had some poignant words about Donovan Mitchell and just how special he is.
After we finished asking questions tonight, Kyle Korver asked if he could say a few words — poignant words, I might add — about his teammate.— Porter Larsen (@Larsen_ESPN) April 21, 2019
“I have never been around a young player like Donovan Mitchell.” #HOUatUTA pic.twitter.com/22xj9tFjln
With the series nearing a mostly inevitable close, it’s important for Jazz fans to take a step back and absorb just how lucky they are to have players like Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to build around. There are so many options because of their style of play, and unselfishness.
This may not be a Jazz dynasty, but it will sure be a fun decade of playoff basketball year after year for the Jazz. And that’s something so many other fanbases would kill for.