Daily Dribble: How the Jazz Struggled to contain Kevin Durant and the Nets

Daily Dribble: How the Jazz Struggled to contain Kevin Durant and the Nets

by Kimya Oliver

The Utah Jazz fell short to the Brooklyn Nets 114-106.

The Crossover: Utah Jazz

Mike Conley drove to the basket for the floater to start the first quarter. This game started was close until Jordan Clarkson pulled up from beyond the arc to extend the Jazz lead to five points. The Jazz managed to keep their lead with the score being 28-25 to close the first quarter.

The Jazz continued to shoot from three point land with Conley opening the second quarter. The Jazz continued to lead throughout the second quarter until the last minute when the Nets took a two point lead to end the first half.

The Jazz offense took a turn with their shooting woes as they had only one free throw in the first two minutes compared seven points from the Nets. Royce O’Neale found Conley rolling to the basket for the layup to get the offense going. Kevin Durant took over this quarter and was unstoppable on the floor. The Nets closed the third quarter leading 91-75.

Rudy Gay started feeling it on the floor. He hit a fadeaway jumper to get the final quarter started. The Jazz cut the deficit to six points, but that did not last long. The Jazz were unsuccessful when closing out this game.

The Daily Double-Double

Only four Jazz players were in double figures. Mitchell finished with 30 points, Clarkson finished with 19 points, Conley finished with 18 points, and Gobert finished with 11 points. Nobody was particularly close to a double-double except perhaps Mike Conley, who had a team high seven assists. On the Nets, Kevin Durant had 37 points and was just two assists and one rebound shy of a triple double.

Kimya’s Take

I think the Jazz opened the ball game solid defensively. The Jazz managed to keep Kevin Durant to eight points in the first half. The Nets only shot one for four from beyond the arc and the Jazz shot three of ten. That is not a huge percentage difference, but the Jazz are getting shot attempts. The Jazz also controlled the rebounds.

After the first half, everything went downhill. It did not go down hill because of the Jazz, but Durant is highly skilled and cannot be stopped. The Jazz may have outscored the Nets 38-24, but Durant had 15 of those points. Durant can shoot over any defender and use his length to get to the basket.

The turnovers were another factor that hurt the Jazz. They had a total of 13 turnovers tonight and six of them were in the third quarter.

This game truly came down to defense. Durant was going to score, but holding Bruce Brown Jr. to under 12 points would have been a game changer. Brown finished with 22 points. This was the best situation for the Jazz to take advantage because Kyrie Irving was not able to play. Irving is averaging 27.7 points this season.

The Jazz also struggled moving the ball around. The Jazz averaged 22.5 assists per game as a team, but only had 18 assists in total compared to the Nets 31 assists. The offense runs smoothly and points are scored when Jazz constantly move the ball around until a man becomes open. This is different from the Nets who are relying on Durant to score the ball.

Bounce Pass: Up Next

The Jazz will face the Boston Celtics on March 23 at 5:30 MST.

Featured image courtesy Frank Franklin II, Associated Press

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