Jazz Playoff Preview: Utah vs. Denver Game 3

by Harry Porter | Donovan’s impact on game two was honestly more impressive than his 57 points in game one. Donovan dropped 30 points while shooting 71.4% from the field, 85.7% from three, and 100% at the free-throw line. Donovan led the Jazz to a blow-out victory in game two. Utah should maintain that energy and momentum into game three. Here are some Jazz Notes to get you ready for the action before tipoff.

Jazz Note #1: The (Probable) return of Mike Conley

It will be almost impossible for Quin Snyder to leave Juwan Morgan in the starting lineup. Mike Conley has played in over 50 playoff games and averages 16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists. Conley brings a wealth of playoff experience to this young Jazz team and will practically be guaranteed to start on Friday (if he successfully clears the NBA quarantine protocol). Conley has never played with a combo guard as creative as Donovan Mitchell and I’d look for Conley to be waiting for catch-and-shoot threes. Let’s hope Conley’s game status is upgraded to available by tip-off.

Jazz Note #2: Prepare for mid-game offensive adjustments

Quin Snyder has a true basketball mind and studies film from each game clip by clip. He’s known for being one of the best in the league at making adjustments against opponents after studying the game film. Utah has been shooting the lights out from beyond-the-arc and Denver will emphasize chasing Jazz players off the line. The Jazz will need to have Snyder at his best to read the Nuggets’ new defensive shape. Clearly the box-and-1 approach in game two didn’t work for Denver so the Jazz will be anticipating the adjustments. Viewers should pay close attention to Snyder during timeouts after Denver scoring runs and see how the Jazz respond with his mid-game adjustments.

Jazz Note #3: Continue to force low percentage shots

A major improvement for the Jazz in game two was the defensive rotations in pick-and-roll scenarios. Gobert provided solid cover to allow guards to fight through screens and force Denver into low percentage looks. Denver shot under 46% on the night and a lot of their misses came from long-range two-point attempts. The Jazz need Rudy to anchor the paint and keep Denver’s tall front-court from scoring easy buckets under the basket.

My prediction: The Jazz will close out a tight fourth quarter 117-111 behind 20 point performances from Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

The game will be broadcast Friday at 2:00pm MST on TNT.


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