Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jazz Turn the Warriors Inside-Out

Jazz (4) vs. Warriors (8): Jazz 115, Warriors 101 (Game 4)

- The Jazz won this game by faithfully sticking to their gameplan to get the ball into the lane for most of the game which would open up some big outside shots later in the game. And the Warriors helped the Jazz by faithfully sticking to their gameplan of not having a gameplan. This game was a good example of G-State's free-for-all offensive style where no shot is a bad shot. The problem was the shots were not falling, but the Warriors kept on hoisting anyways and this helped the Jazz take over. I'm sure Nellie wanted some better shot selection in the 2nd half, but this is the beast Nellie created & it's hard to change your offensive philosophy on the fly; you live with this no-discretion style, you die by it.

- Utah did most of its damage inside for the 1st 3 quarters then they countered with hitting big outside jumpers in the 4th to seal the victory. The Warriors' uneven shooting had more than just on-court reprecussions, it never allowed the Oak-Town crowd to get involved & provide energy to guys like Baron & Steve Jack who feed off it.

- The Jazz made a concerted effort to attack the painted area early & often--Utah finished with 50 pts in paint. Biggest difference between Game 3 & 4 was Utah found touches for Boozer. Boozer showed off his whole rep: turnaround jumpers on the baseline, hooks with either hand, his little step-back fadeaway move off a spin, and just straight finishing with either hand. And he did this in his usual efficient way--34 pts on 13/19. Deron was hitting pull-ups and setting up his teammates off lane penetration thru-out. Deron ended with 20, 13 assts, 6 rebs, but had some trouble with TOs again (6 total).

- Derek Fisher came up big in the 2nd half, hitting 3 big jumpers (2 3pts) including a 3pt. after G-State had just regained the lead. His ability to often stay in front of Baron on defense was an underrated factor. Memo Okur also came up big in the 2nd half with some big jumpers of his own--Memo finished with 14 & 7. Rookie reserve Millsap also added to paint damage by being another big body that the Warriors could not handle--8 pts on 4/5 & 6 rebs (3 off.)

- Utah nearly killed themselves with turnovers again (21). It really was stunting their progress in the 3rd where their defense was getting stops but they couldn't captialize because of turnovers, just unforced errors. But they were somewhat fortunate they had a lot of deadball TOs, which might have had an effect on the G-State only getting 14 fast break pts, after 23 in Game 3.

- You had to expect JRich to cool down from the field sooner or later, it was just bad timing it coincided with Baron having an off-nite. Both guys combined for 9/28 from the field & 3/14 from 3pt; Baron had been shooting 55% overall (42% 3pt.), JRich 50% (39%). Warriors shots were just not connecting (40% overall), but that did not stop them from chucking them up--12/39 from 3pt. They got beat up on the boards once again, this time by 16. Also, did not help their cause by only shooting 62% from the foul line.

- Harrington was not just a 3pt threat tonite (4/10 from 3pt), he looked to dribble-drive and use his quickness advantage vs. Boozer--Al led the way for G-State with 24. Biedrins was active on both ends (10 rebs & 3 blks), but could not slip open quite as well as in Game 3, seems like the Jazz were keeping track of him a little more. Monta Ellis showed a little sign of his reg. season self with 15 pts, but it was not quite enough to make up for the combined misfire by JRich & Baron.

- This game was a perfect example of Steve Jackson's high risk/high reward style. Sometimes Nellie's free-for-all, no discretion offensive gameplan is not the best system to have a low-conscience player like Jackson in. Even though he had 24 pts, he was just taking some terrible shots & making mindless decisions, especially a few late in the game when the Warriors needed to cherish their possessions (Jack shot 5/15 & had 6 TOs).

- Warriors have to display some discipline offensively in Game 5, especially if the game is tight late. I know this is obvious, but they have to keep the board margin to about 6-8. It would not hurt them to improve their defense either. Been hearing from some folks that G-State really is not that bad of a defensive team after all, & the Dallas series wasn't a fluke. Sorry, but it seems to me it was a defensive fluke. When you're allowing a team to average 116 ppg on 50% shooting, not to mention 41% from 3pt. to a normally poor 3pt. shooting team, your defense really ain't good. The only thing they do well is force TOs. Which is a defensive style that does not hold up over the long run. For the Jazz, just keep pounding the painted area and try to cut down on the TOs.


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