Game 1 was a disaster. There’s no sugar coating that embarrassing beatdown. While the Jazz made it interesting for a few moments in the 3rd, the Rockets put them down and ran them out of the building. That 32 point playoff loss went as bad as it sounds.
So who’s to blame?
Quin Snyder’s defensive strategy was interesting, but unimpressive. While it works in theory, his guys didn’t understand how to execute properly. That’s on Quin. I fully expect him to make some adjustments and for the elite Jazz defense to come back in this series.
Joe Ingles was gun shy. He’s been incredible since the All Star break, averaging over 44% from three with 7 assists per game as well. He took four total shots in Game 1. That’s unacceptable. His teammates need to get him in positions to score, and Joe absolutely has to be willing to take those shots. I can’t wait to see playoff Joe activated.
Donovan Mitchell looked like a rookie again. Only 7/18 from the floor isn’t going to cut it. Five turnovers and zero assists is even worse. But we know that’s not who Donovan Mitchell is. We all know he’ll be ready and prove his true talent level. That level he’s put on display since that “New year, new me” tweet on New Years Eve.
Rudy Gobert. Honestly, I don’t have anything negative to say about Rudy. He got a lot of blame and flack on Twitter by Jazz fans and national media. But that’s ridiculous. What’s he supposed to do? Guard all 5 positions at once? Again, Utah’s defensive strategies flopped, leaving Gobert all alone with a guy coming freely to the rim, an open backdoor cutter, and a forgotten shooter in the corner. He still brought his game, finishing with 22 and 12 on 8/10 shooting. He won’t accept the poor perimeter defense that left him high and dry. And I think we’ll see Rudy come back with a vengeance.
Jae Crowder. Woof. My eyes are still burning from that 1/9 shooting performance. Crowder is a good player. I love his heart and hustle. I love that toughness. I don’t always love his shot selection. Hopefully he becomes a little more self aware and goes back to being that +/- machine that fits really well next to Gobert.
Thabo Sefolosha didn’t look like he even belonged on an NBA court. We can’t have that in a veteran player with a ton of playoff experience. And I don’t think we’ll get it again. We desperately need him to be a positive defender this series. Which is what he’s been throughout his career.
Plus the poor health. Multiple guys came into this game a little hobbled, Kyle Korver most significantly. It showed, as Korver played only 10 minutes and didn’t even attempt a true field goal. May we all pray to the basketball gods that he is ready to go tomorrow. Jazz need that shooting terribly.
So, was Game 1 one of the worst playoff performances in Jazz history? Probably. Which is exactly why I don’t think it will happen again. A lot of things went very much against the Jazz, much of which is repairable. This team won 50 games for a reason. Right now they just need to focus on winning 1. Starting tomorrow in Game 2. #Ontothenextone #Letsgo