Cold-shooting Jazz try to bounce back against Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. — Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder has a simple solution in mind for what he perceived to be his club’s biggest problem in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night.
“Shooting is a little bit of an equalizer,” Snyder said after his team connected on just 46.3 percent of its shots from the field in the 106-94 loss. “I think both teams can shoot better.”
Game 2 is Thursday night in Oakland.
It would be impossible for the Jazz to shoot worse than it did at the start of the first and fourth quarters, when they missed all 12 of their shots while getting run 9-0 and 10-0.
Make half those shots and the Jazz finish the game at a respectable 47.8 percent.
Make half those shots, even if none were 3-pointers, and the 12-point difference in the game would have been erased.
Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who was just 4 of 15 and totaled 12 points in the loss, said Golden State’s defense only gets some of the credit.
“Kind of what we expected,” he said of the Warriors’ defensive approach. “We just didn’t execute like we wanted … and missed some shots.”
Hayward averaged 23.7 points in the seven-game victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, shooting 47.7 from the field.
More important for the Jazz, they rebounded from their three losses in the LA series to shoot 52.2, 54.1 and 50.6 percent in the next game, an average improvement of 6.1 percent per game.
The Warriors walked away from the Game 1 win expecting that they hadn’t seen the best of the Jazz but also fully understanding they’re not a team that usually makes only seven 3-pointers in a game.
Golden State was just 7 of 29 (24.1 percent) on 3s in the opener, with Stephen Curry going 1 of 4 and Andre Iguodala 0 of 6.
“Got up 29 3s,” noted Curry, happy with that number. “Hopefully, we’ll make a few more next game.”
One area in which the Warriors were particularly pleased in Game 1 was in turnovers.
Golden State wound up taking the same number of shots as Utah (82 apiece) despite getting only five offensive rebounds (compared with the Jazz’s eight) and getting outrebounded 44-37 overall.
The reason: The Jazz lost seven more possessions than the Warriors in turnovers (14-7), with Golden State taking advantage of those mistakes to score almost one-fifth of their total points (20 of 106).
“Going into the year, that was one of the things that Steve (Kerr) talked about … winning the possession game,” said Mike Brown, the Warriors’ acting coach while Kerr deals with physical problems. “We feel like we have enough scoring power that if we lock in defensively and win the possession game, we can probably outscore most of our opponents.”
The seven turnovers equaled Golden State’s franchise record for fewest in a playoff game.
Despite the fact that Curry sat out a relatively light Warriors practice Wednesday to rest a slightly strained left ankle, neither team reported any injury issues in the wake of Game 1.
That said, Kerr remains out indefinitely. He did not attend Game 1.