Analysis: West Semis--Jazz 116, Warriors 112 (Game 1)
- The Warriors are gonna make things interesting again, huh. Have to admit G-State is adding a different spice to these playoffs. What you got from the Warriors is what you expect: A lot of quick-trigger jumpers, post-ups for Baron & JRich, and drives to the rim or drives-n-dishes for long jumpers. From the Jazz, you expected good board work, but the willingness to push the pace alongside G.S., not so expected. Just a side note: Kirilenko should not have helped onto Baron's drive on that last play, he lucked out with Jackson's miss. You have to dissuade the 3pt shot at all costs when up 2 pts. And it looked like Deron was telling Kirilenko that he got lucky.
- Hard to believe but the Jazz outscored G-State 25-19 on fast break points. I was a little surprised Sloan allowed his team to play this pace, but he did not seem to pull in the reigns on Deron & Co all game. Not hard to believe is that the Jazz smoked the Warriors on the boards--+18 overall--and G-State allowed 20 Utah off. rebs, while they only grabbed 22 def rebs. That's bad. This is an issue you commonly face when downsizing your lineup, of course.
-Deron was a stud tonite: 31 on 11/21 (4/7 3pts), 8 assts & 5 rbs. Looked determined to attack Baron & his balky hammy from the opening tip. Did a bit of everything on offense: driving, dishing in the half-court or transition, and shooting jumpers. He also was allowed to push the ball in transition and he made some sweet passes on the run. The only negative was he made a few ill-advised TOs (6 total).
- Jazz had problems holding onto rebounds & loose balls all nite. Okur & Boozer especially seemed to have major problems grasping the ball. Jazz were trying to force some passes into tight spaces too much which pushed their TO total to 21.
- Boozer got the big off. board, then putback to take the lead for good; he had 10 off. boards (20 total rebs). Booze did have some issues getting clean looks with all the zones & doubling the Warriors were showing. But even when he got good opportunities he looked a little reticent in his decisions & did not finish as strong as he can.
- Okur did his job by hitting his jumper for 21 pts, and he used his size advantage to grab 5 off. boards (11 total). Kirilenko was all over the place on the defensive end changing/blocking shots (7 blks), he definitely got into the Warriors heads on their drives. Kirilenko also put up 13 pts, 7 rbs, 4 assts, and did a good job drawing fouls. The Jazz got a nice, unexpected lift from Dee Brown who was pressed into service because of the absence of Fisher. The Warriors tried to take advantage of him with Baron, but Brown held his own pretty well. And he added some nice finishes to boot--Dee had 6 pts & 3 assts in 12 mins. Harpring used his strength to finish in the lane easily--21 pts on 7/11. Dude must bench like 380, might be the pound-for-pound strongest guy in the NBA.
- Al Harrington bounced back huge tonite after being in a series-long funk, and regained his shooting stroke--21 pts, 4/7 from 3pt. His defense on Boozer was not half-bad either. Baron started off slow and it seemed that the hamstring was giving him some issues. But then he came alive in the 2nd quarter on his way to 24 & 7 assts. Nellie went to a lot of post-ups for either Baron or JRich in the 3rd, but neither guy did much damage that way. Barnes & JRich continued their strong playoff play with both guys giving 20 & 10. Also, both guys hit the off. glass well.
- I would say the Warriors need to do a better job protecting their def. glass, but that won't be easy because of the devotion to a downsized lineup, And the Jazz just happen to be a great off. board team and can do this damage to traditonal lineups. Utah has to be more careful of forcing passes into the zone. They also have to try to get Boozer into better scoring positions and try to set plays off Boozer anticipating the doubles.