Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

Lowry bounces back, Raptors edge Bucks to even series at 1-1

Houston Rockets' James Harden yells after a Oklahoma City Thunder turnover during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday Utah's Rudy Gobert has hyperextended left knee, bone bruise
Stacy Diaz | 21 April, 2017, 19:33

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (right) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute defends.

According to a Thursday afternoon report from Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Jazz will once again be shorthanded for their looming matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers.

While the Clippers led throughout the entire game, they still needed Chris Paul to take over late to keep the Jazz at bay. He sat in a cushioned chair, kicked off his sneakers and reflected on his brief time with the Clippers: dinners out with Blake Griffin, riding the bus with DeAndre Jordan, running into Glen "Big Baby" Davis at the grocery store after being waived and getting wrapped into a massive hug. The contest hinged on LA's ability to squeeze points out of crevices because its outside shooting was missing in action for the second straight game.

Raptors: Ibaka started despite a sore left ankle sustained when he stepped on Antetokounmpo's foot in the third quarter of Game 1.

While he's sidelined, Boris Diaw, Jeff Withey and Derrick Favors are all likely to see expanded minutes. Utah was close enough at the end to foul with 13 seconds left. Heading into Game 2, the Clippers coaching staff harped on the need to push the ball aggressively and not allow the Utah defense to get set. Midway through the second quarter, Griffin came up the court a half-step ahead of Joe Ingles and drove hard through a narrow seam for another basket at the rim.

"Rudy is not going to walk through the door right now", Snyder said. "That's the only way we're going to win this series". The [Jazz are] long, they're big, they're strong, they're great defensively. "You're not going to get to him". "It's never fun coming in and watching film after that Game 1 loss".

"We need to open it up a little bit". When he puts his mind to it, Griffin is excellent at racing ahead of the action and sealing defenders to put himself in advantageous situations.

I'm throwing this matchup into the mix because George Hill's importance as the starting point guard is tantamount to the Jazz having any shot at winning this series, now that Gobert isn't down low to protect the rim. "Basketball is a game of reads", Paul said.

When a USA reporter compared Ingles' rugged defence to the physical play in Australian rules or "rugby", Ingles, a Hawthorn fan, quickly shot down any prospect of switching sports. "That's our job as a team and my job as the point guard to find him more open looks". "That's our guy. He had two guys on him and he trusted us". He's averaging 23 points a game, shooting 56 percent from the field, 10.5 assists, three steals, and hasn't missed a free throw yet. "Without Rudy rolling, it's different", Quin Snyder said. They also shot just 8 foul shots the entire game. That's what we expected. "We got their attention".

As such, Utah trailed 51-42 after 24 minutes, and Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 12 points at the break.

The moral victory is that the Jazz still give themselves a chance to play with just about any team even without Gobert. Remarkably, the last time Jazz fans celebrated a home playoff win, Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan was still the coach, Deron Williams was a newly-minted All-Star, Gordon Hayward was still a draft prospect, and the Vivint Smart Home Arena was still known as EnergySolutions Arena.