Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Jazz try to slow Harden in Game 2 after Game 1 rout

Jazz Donovan Mitchell BBALLBREAKDOWNDonovan Mitchell is evolving faster than Jazz opponents can defend
Shannon Reynolds | 03 May, 2018, 09:31

Harden led the National Basketball Association in scoring in the regular season by averaging a career-high 30.4 points a game and ranks second behind LeBron James this postseason with 31 points a game. Jae Crowder continued to hit threes, making three of his six attempts en route to 15 points.

Sunday's Game 1 demolishment came when the Jazz were only 36 hours removed from an emotional series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"He was breaking us down", D'Antoni said. "They did a good job, give them credit, but we made some key mistakes and they made some key baskets and got some stops".

Rookie star Mitchell's 17 points included an one-handed dunk of the rebound of his own missed shot - an emphatic jam that keyed Utah's 16-2 fourth-quarter scoring run.

After missing a shot from close range, Mitchell unleashed his explosive second jump to follow up his brick with a powerful throwdown between two Rocket defenders, including no less than Houston big man Clint Capela. But another game like Game 2 - of lackadaisical defense, of comparatively low energy, of poor shooting - and that panic meter starts inching skyward.

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Harden had 32 points and 11 assists and Paul a quiet 23 points and just three assists. Rudy Gobert made one of two free-throw tries before Exum put it out of reach with a dunk.

"We have had some confidence in Dante taking hard match-ups".

But the Jazz had two days between Games 1 and 2.

"They made adjustments. I said yesterday, I know this coach (Quinn Snyder) is always going to make adjustments". And there's probably a lot of things he's suggesting that we need to look at doing, some of which we probably are.

The difference-maker in the game might have come right off the bat, when the Jazz outscored the Rockets in the first quarter, 36-28. At the end of the second quarter, third quarter we picked it up. It took a 19-point Jazz lead, to nine at the break, and while not completely unraveling an otherwise excellent half, it certainly clouded the third quarter. There was a long pause before Ariza let out a loud sigh and said with a laugh: "I'd figure out a way to slow him down". "It's just a question of how far and how quickly, and I thought they cut that gap and not only made it a game, but basically took control of the game".

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