Someone Besides Hayward Must Step Up
Following Game 1, I wrote about how the Jazz were in desperate need of having somebody step up in a big way given how terrible the team looked across the board in that initial contest. In Game 2, Gordon Hayward was that player. As I detailed in a piece this morning, Hayward looked every bit the All-Star the Jazz need, even though even his heroics weren’t enough to overcome Utah’s slow start.
And that phenomenal 33-point outing by Hayward is something that will likely need to continue for the Jazz to find any success in Games 3 and 4. However, he simply cannot shoulder the load all by himself. In the first-round series against the Clippers, several of his teammates had big games, most notably Joe Johnson, but also Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and George Hill stepped up in several much-needed occasions.
However, here’s how each of those guys stacked up in Game 2. Joe Johnson had just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting. Hood had eight points on an atrocious 4-of-13 shooting night that included going 0-of-5 from deep. Favors had just three points in ten minutes, while George Hill failed to even suit up due to a flare-up of the toe injury that has hindered him all season long.
Then there was Joe Ingles, who went just 1-of-5 with three points, and Shelvin Mack who, despite being the team’s third leading scorer on the night with 14 points, shot just 4-of-11 from the field.
In other words, outside of Hayward and to an extent Gobert as was discussed earlier, the Jazz didn’t get a whole lot. Of course part of this has to do with how much better the Warriors are defensively than the Clippers (there’s no Jamal Crawford for Iso Joe to go one-on-one with), but part of it is also just the lack of guys rising to the occasion. Several of the aforementioned players’ missed shots (Rodney Hood’s stand out the most) were wide open and just didn’t happen to fall.
The team as a whole has looked intimidated and ill-prepared to face the Warriors so far. However, after a dismal first quarter in Game 2, Gordon Hayward seemed to lead the charge to change that and in some ways his team followed suit. Now they need to ride the determination and momentum that they seemed to gather in the second and third quarters of Thursday’s contest and further increase their confidence heading into Games 3 and 4.