Tonight is Game 5, and in the olden days this would be the end of the first round. It’s not, but it looks like the beginning of the end. It’s nice to see our guys in TNT again, though. Be aware:
Also be aware that the Jazz are approaching full health (save for Alec Burks) right now if G-Time is good to go. We haven’t really seen a fully operational Jazz group this year. They aren’t peaking right now, but are healthy. And that’s a dangerous thing for the first round (or the second...) -- it’s a good time to be Jazz fans. (Also #TakeNote of Gobert up there, not Hayward.)
It’s a good time to be an NBA Fan just in general because “Game of Zones” is back! This season’s episodes start off with a blubbering Enes Kanter. That’s a good place to start. Check out the first Episode here:
I did get a chance to chat with their main man, and it doesn’t look like our Jazz made it into any of the story-lines this season.
@AllThatAmar Thanks but there's something you should know...the Jazz aren't in it this year— Adam Malamut (@mutsack) April 25, 2017
@AllThatAmar Attitudes like this are why we continue to root for the Jazz....also Rudy Gobert once tweeted about GOZ...NEXT SEASON ALL JAZZ— Adam Malamut (@mutsack) April 25, 2017
But with this young core there’s so much to look forward to in the future, even if things go awry tonight.
So the big huge deal is Game 5. The team that wins Game 5 will most likely win this series. Period. So we got a chance to talk about it with our homies over at Clips Nation. Check it out:
The commonality here is that both of us are apprehensive and realistic. Or pessimistic. Or all of the above. But that’s the subjective feelings of fans. When we look at the hold hard data of the entire NBA Playoffs you get this:
NBA 1st round playoffs, distribution of in-game points differential. pic.twitter.com/wSciI5xYtm— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) April 25, 2017
This data from Ed shows that, at least in the case of the UTA/LAC series, that it’s been really close the entire time. We’re probably going to see that the rest of the way through. But what about tonight, specifically? Man, people are starting to really care about this series because the biggest names are writing about it now. Check out JD’s take over at VICE:
At the end of the day it’s going to be about getting stops, getting the rebound, and working the ball for good shots. As always. It’s really simple at this time of the season. Adjustments were made. And adjustments to those adjustments have been made. Some of those worked out. Others did not.
We didn’t see a whole lot of Gordon Hayward in Game 4. He played in just 9 minutes because of his illness (flu-like symptoms, dehydration, food poisoning?) He still found time to hit a three and grab two rebounds in his limited minutes, but it’s clear that Game 4 wasn’t his night. Game 3, where he dropped twice his Jersey # was, though. 40 points is a lot. It was a career high for him, and a Jazz franchise high 21 in a quarter - something no one had ever done in the Playoffs before.
So now is as good a time as any to revisit how people felt about him back in 2010:
It’s a fun trip down memory lane, but if Utah wants this current playoff sojourn to continue they are going to need Hayward to have a big game. The Clippers have been getting big games all playoffs long from Chris Paul. He has been impossible to guard. Behold:
The 10 players over and under-performing in the playoffs the most (by BPM)— Nate (@bbstats) April 25, 2017
CP3 has had the highest jump
Kyrie the steepest fall pic.twitter.com/cYkhI2cKA0
Also of note, J.J. Redick has been really bad. But you can’t count on him being bad forever. He’s listed here as one of the biggest disappointments of the playoffs so far:
Shooters break out of slumps. Jamal Crawford did it in Game 4, lest we forget.
Stats? Okay, more stats. According to Stats.NBA.COM - the Utah Jazz have one really good player, and a bunch of guys who haven’t really had positive impacts on the court in the Playoffs. Looking at just plus/minus we see that Joe Johnson is +16, followed by Rodney Hood +9, and distantly by George Hill +4. Are these the top three players on the team right now?
Many of us would point to Joe Ingles as a money-maker this post-season, but he currently sits at +0.
Rudy Gobert, in limited time is -5. Strange to see that.
The bottom two are Derrick Favors (-16) and Gordon Hayward (-19).
This is the result of a number of factors (and no point in going over all of them), but playing against LAC’s starters is difficult. After all, they’ve played 871 minutes together in the regular season (#3 most used line-up in the entire NBA) + another 89 in the post-season (#7 in the Playoffs, mind you Blake Griffin is injured now and did not play in Game 4).
Utah is hours behind them in terms of cohesion. But at least, their line-ups can be chaos to defend against because you never know when you’re going to see Raul Neto / Dante Exum / Joe Ingles / Joe Johnson / Derrick Favors out there on the court together.
Injuries and depth have made the Jazz so much tougher. And it’s starting to show.
Simple -- who wins Game 5?
Who wins Game 5?
This poll is closed
UTA by +11 points
UTA by 6-10
UTA by 1-5
LAC by 1-5
LAC by 6-10
LAC by +11