After the Heat won their first matchup, the Utah Jazz will look to even things up against Miami today in Salt Lake City.
Other than a late push that fell short, the Utah Jazz looked physically outmatched against the Miami Heat in their first matchup. Rudy Gobert had one of his worst performances (8 points, 8 rebounds -20 +/-) as the Heat’s physicality mostly neutralized him. But Gobert wasn’t the only one who was overpowered physically. Miami had their way with the Jazz, especially Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro. Lowry put up a monster triple-double and Herro dropped 29 while shooting 6/8 from three.
This will be a good opportunity for the Jazz to show how they can adjust to one of the elite teams in the league. How will the Jazz’s defensive schemes adjust to the Heat to slow them down? Will Quin Snyder try some things in this one to get more stops? We’ll see if there’s any sort of adjustment or if the Jazz just need to play better on the defensive end. Likely, a combination of the two needs to happen for the Jazz to win.
The problem is that the Jazz have not looked particularly great defensively recently. In their recent loss to the Indiana Pacers the Jazz defense looked lifeless. I would give the Jazz a pass on that because that likely coincided from the emotion felt because of the loss of Izzy Techenor. But the Jazz defense had been struggling before that. Utah’s defensive rating has dropped from top-5 to 9th overall. In the Jazz’s last four games they’ve had the #27 defensive rating in the league.
One interesting note is that the Jazz may get an easier matchup with Jimmy Butler’s status for the game being questionable.
Jimmy Butler (ankle) is upgraded to questionable by Miami for Saturday’s game against Utah. Markieff Morris (whiplash) remains out.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) November 13, 2021
Though this would obviously make the matchup easier, it’s a shame if the Jazz might not get a chance to match up against the Heat’s best. Utah is scuffling and they need chances to show that they’re able to stay with the elite in the league. If they beat a Heat team that’s not at 100% it’s nice for the overall record, but you don’t come away with a solid understanding of how the team needs to improve.
And that should be the major question for Justin Zanik and the front office. Is this team good enough as constituted? There is a window for this Jazz team to make it to the western conference finals and beyond. They have to make the team better this trade deadline and games like tonight will help them know what pieces work best, and what pieces might be better used in a trade.
Rudy Gay will be making his debut soon and will add another rotation player to the Jazz. The question will be, who loses minutes for him to play? Eric Paschall has been a pleasant surprise while Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson have struggled. Will Quin Snyder replace the minutes of struggling players with Rudy Gay, or will we see the same rotations from last season kept mostly in stone? We’ll find out soon.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, November 13th, 2021, 3:00 PM MT
Location: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: NBA TV, ATTSN-RM
RADIO: 97.5/1280 The Zone, or listen on the Utah Jazz app