Dominate the Boards, Eliminate Offensive Rebounds
The Warriors are such a good team across the board that if they’re allowed any extra looks or easy opportunities, they’re likely going to bury their opponent. The only hope for defeating them is to make them work for absolutely everything they get. Unfortunately, the aforementioned turnovers have helped Golden State gain a huge advantage, and in a similar fashion their offensive rebounds have as well.
In Game 1, the Jazz did a commendable job of taking control of the boards as they outrebounded the Warriors 49-42 and held Golden State to just five offensive boards while pulling down eight of their own.
Unfortunately in the second contest, the Warriors were able to flip the script on the Jazz as they won the rebounding battle 50-46 and nearly doubled the Jazz in offensive rebounds by a count of 9-5. On several of those occasions, it seemed like the Jazz would play great defense, only to have Golden State grab their own miss and convert on the second try.
Those kinds of extra opportunities and easy points are absolute back-breakers, especially for a team that executes so well that it could likely win without a single point off turnovers or a single second chance opportunity. Therefore, Utah needs to take full advantage of their size and length and keep Golden State off the boards at all cost, particularly when the Dubs are on offense.
For this to happen, the Jazz can’t simply rely on Gobert to snatch up all the rebounds. I was extremely impressed with Gordon Hayward’s emphasis on crashing the boards against the Clippers and Utah will need him, among others, to chip into the rebounding by committee approach for the remainder of the series.
Given that Utah almost always depends on setting up a half court offense and rarely looks to send guys back early to run in transition, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t put an emphasis on nabbing each and every defensive rebound that they can and prevent Golden State from getting any easy second chance opportunities.
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We all knew that competing with the Warriors was going to be a tall task coming into this series and it’s probable that few, if any of us, truly thought that the Jazz would arise victorious in the end. Nevertheless, Utah is certainly more capable than they’ve appeared in the first two bouts and they need to put their true skills on display in Games 3 and 4 on their home court.
Although obviously the first two games have come with more negatives than positives, there were a few encouraging moments in Game 2 that give reason to believe that if Utah can come out confident at home and put a heavy emphasis on these adjustments that I’ve brought up, they may very well have a chance to push the Warriors to the limit within the friendly confines of Vivint Smart Home Arena.
We won’t have to wait long to find out as the two teams will go head to head tomorrow at 6:30 PM MT on ABC.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com and ESPN.com