by Kimya Oliver
The Crossover: Utah Jazz by the Numbers
Mike Conley found Rudy Gobert for the cutting layup to the basket to start the first quarter. The Trail Blazers pushed the pace on the offensive end. The Jazz struggled to close the quarter by not scoring a basket for the final two minutes. The quarter ended with the Jazz trailing 19-16.
The Jazz continued to search for offensive momentum until Conley drove to the basket for the layup two minutes into the second quarter. The Jazz continued to attack the basket and made back-to-back three-pointers from Jared Butler and Jordan Clarkson to take a 34-23 lead. The first half ended with the Jazz leading 52-40.
The Jazz could not find the bottom of the net until four and a half minutes into the third quarter with Conley making a floating jumper. The Trail Blazers could not stop the Jazz’s offense, allowing the Jazz to gain a 19 point lead with three minutes to go in the quarter. Rudy Gay made a putback layup to close the third with the Jazz leading 78-56.
Conley lobbed a pass to Gobert for the slam dunk to start the final quarter of play. The Trail Blazers tried to get back into this game, but the Jazz offense could not be stopped.
The Daily Double-Double
Juancho Hernangomez finished the night with 22 points and Rudy Gobert finished with yet another double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson also finished just one point shy of a double-double as he had 11 rebounds.
Hernangomez stepped up big. He dropped 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Hernangomez has played in 16 games in total for the Jazz with an average of 17 minutes per game. He doubled his average playing time in this game and proved that on the floor he can be efficient. It is a great opportunity for him to show head coach Quin Snyder that he is capable of scoring the ball and stepping up when needed.
With the regular season being put to rest, the Jazz finished at the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference with a final record of 49-33. The Jazz will face the Dallas Mavericks in their first playoff series. The series is split even at 2-2 between these two teams in the regular season. In the Mavericks’ previous game against the San Antonio Spurs, Luka Doncic suffered a left calf injury.
According to CBS Sports, the Mavericks are reportedly optimistic that Doncic has not suffered a major injury. The MRI confirmed he has a calf strain, but there is no time table for his return. The playoffs are set to begin on Saturday. I think that six days is plenty of time for him to recover for a game of this magnitude, so the Jazz need to plan as if he is coming back fully recovered.
This playoff run can be interesting. The Jazz have the highest offensive rating as a team this season compared to the Mavericks who are ranked No. 15. I think their offense is tremendous when they are hot from the floor. This is especially the case with Jordan Clarkson. I know it’s not likely every game, but the Jazz will easily win the first round if Clarkson can stay consistently hot overall from deep. The only person who the Jazz will need to stop is Doncic. In my opinion, Doncic is the main offensive cornerstone of Dallas. If Doncic is not hot then they will struggle.
Bounce Pass: Up Next
The Jazz will face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs on April 16, 2022 at 11 a.m. MST.
Featured image courtesy Steve Dykes, Associated Press