San Antonio — Notes following Jazz shootaround Tuesday at AT&T Center.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin is open to the idea of slowing down Game 2 and attempting to engage the Spurs in a half-court battle. While the absence of San Antonio reserve center Tiago Splitter (left wrist bone bruise, doubtful) could push Corbin to use a big lineup featuring Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson for longer stretches, the Jazz coach still feels the Spurs' pinpoint 3-point shooting will make Utah pay in the end.
Thus, Corbin's primary goals in Game 2 are to have the Jazz run a more efficient offense and for Utah's defense to better contain Spurs point guard Tony Parker in the pick-and-roll. Corbin also said the Jazz can't lose focus just because San Antonio pours in a couple quick 3-pointers and briefly gains momentum.
Corbin on his confidence competing against the Spurs in a half-court game: Oh, absolutely. We can execute in a half-court set with anybody. When we understand how we have to come off screens and we watch the way they run through their offense and how aggressive they are — how they get the ball where they want to get the ball, if it's elbow extended; if it's on the baseline side; where they want to get it into the post. They do a great job of getting the ball where they want to get it, and that's just from execution. I think we can do just as good of job. After watching the film and seeing where we slipped a little bit or we allowed them to push us off our spots a little bit more — so the angles were bad and we [couldn't] get the ball initially where we wanted to get it — we'll be better at doing that tonight.
Jazz should run when they can, but play to their strengths in Game 2: Yes. And our strengths have been all year of going inside, and we have to take different looks. But we want to make sure that we look to get it inside first and then play off of that. When we get the ball inside to our post guys and we make cuts off of that, then we're a lot more effective because we go inside-out. Then the shots on the perimeter are wide-open shots and we get guys cutting to the basket for layups. But it's not going to be easy. They know it, so they try to take that away from us.
Intentionally slowing game down if Splitter is inactive; trying to beat Spurs in fourth quarter: You have a chance. Absolutely. You want to try and get as big as lead as you can going into the fourth. But if it's going to be a tight game where we're executing and they get to execute in every possession and every possession is an important possession for both sides, then we feel good about that. They're experienced. But we've been a team all year long that when we execute in a half-court set, then not only do it make our offense effective, it help our defense because it slows the other team down getting back. I wouldn't mind having that game at all.
Pros, cons of going big more in Game 2: Well, we have to see. Their bigs aren't big guys that play inside. Besides [DeJuan] Blair and Tim Duncan, [Matt] Bonner and those guys are basically perimeter guys. So we've got to make sure we recover back, because they use the 3-point shot as a big weapon for them.
Jefferson on slowing game down and playing Jazz basketball: San Antonio did get us out of our game mindset [in Game 1], you know. You don't come across many teams that can do both — run the floor and have a great half-court offense, too. So I think they kind of got us out of what we were trying to do, and we were just — we went back and watched films — we weren't ourselves, we was trying to do too much. But like you said, if we do settle down, get back to Utah Jazz basketball that got us here, I think that we could really make a difference in this series.
Utah assistant Sidney Lowe spoke with point guards Devin Harris and Jamaal Tinsley near the end of shootaround. Lowe then discussed ways to improve Utah's pick-and-roll defense with assistant Jeff Hornacek and player development coach Mike Sanders.
Jazz forward C.J. Miles put up a few practice shots, while Raja Bell participated in shootaround.
Brian T. Smith