May 20, 2018

May Day? The Jazz aren't panicking before Game 2 against Houston

03 May 2018, 01:40 | Ken Black

Our Least Likely Sports Icon Joe Ingles Smashed An NBA Playoff For The Ages

Dwyane Wade left and Le Bron James stand during the trophy presentation following the Miami Heat's Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals

The Jazz had built a sizable lead in the first half, but Mitchell picked up his third foul with about four minutes left in the second quarter on an unfortunate collision under the basket. "We'll take this win, but we know we've got three more". We didn't play our best.

Houston clawed their way back from as many as 19 points in the first half to tie things up in the third, but Donovan Mitchell and Ingles kept the Jazz in control. Though Mitchell shot just 6-for-21, including 2-for-8 on 3-pointers, he expertly read the Rockets' defense and spread the ball all over the court. They were expected to lose their first-round series to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and won in six games. Donovan Mitchell put up 17 points on a rough 6-of-21 shooting night, but did add 11 assists and five rebounds. There's a reason Houston is the #1 seed and they'll likely adjust and take the series, but Utah deserves a lot of credit for their ability to defend Harden in this one.

But the Jazz made significant adjustments after Game 1, attacking earlier in possessions instead of moving the ball as much as usual in an attempt to exploit the Rockets' switch-everything defensive scheme.

With Rubio sidelined and the Jazz needing a facilitator, Mitchell stepped into that role beautifully to start Game 2.

The Jazz will try and even the series without starting point guard Ricky Rubio, who sat out Game 1 and is out indefinitely with a strained left hamstring.

Jazz small forward Joe Ingles, a frequent playful critic of his rookie teammate, joked that Mitchell made a poor decision by attempting his highlight dunk. The Phoenix Suns made history Wednesday in hiring Utah Jazz assistant coach Igor Kokoskov to be their next head coach, the team announced Wednesday.

Game 3 is set for Saturday at 12:30pm AEST on ESPN and NBA League Pass. Kokoskov, 46, has spent much of the past two decades working as an assistant coach, spending time with the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic before spending the last two years with the Jazz. Surely, they will shoot better and be more aggressive with a bit more rest. He and Devin Booker would be a good foundation for Kokoskov to begin his National Basketball Association head coaching career with.

"First of all, like on the pick and roll they were not hesitating, they had their rhythm, they got confidence on everything they were doing, whenever they were getting wide open to take the shots, they were shooting it with confidence". Ingles was called for a foul.

"They came out with some thrust in that first half", said Rockets guard James Harden, who had 32 points and 11 assists in the loss. Instead, play continued on without one. It's just one game out of a long series.

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