Sacramento, Calif. • Quin Snyder was 25 minutes late to his pregame meeting with the media.
Derrick Favors, not typically a loquacious force of personality anyway, was even more subdued than normal during the team’s locker room availability ahead of Sunday’s game vs. the Kings.
Turns out those two things were likely related.
Word came out about 50 minutes ahead of tipoff for Sunday’s 133-112 victory that Favors, who had started each of the Jazz’s 18 previous games this season, would be coming off the bench for this one, and that Jae Crowder would be starting at the four.
The decision was deemed “a matchup issue.”
In other words — the Kings play fast, and Crowder is perhaps better able to keep up defensively at that position than the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Favors.
The Kings play at a league-fast pace anyway, but have had especially good success doing it against the Jazz. In the teams’ two previous meetings, Sacramento scored 117 points in the season opener on Oct. 17, and then 119 more in their Nov. 21 victory.
Sacramento coach Dave Joerger said before the game that it made perfect sense for his team to try to outrun the Jazz.
“You don’t wanna let Rudy [Gobert] get back there and hunkered into their defense,” he said. “It’s most advantageous for us to run into their defense and not let their defense get set up.”
Joerger also proved accidentally prescient about the lineup change, noting that for all the Jazz’s reputation for playing big, they’re not an especially big team.
“They have three bigs on their roster, and two of them play. That’s it,” he said. “They play with a lot of 6-6 to 6-8 players who are skilled.”
Favors checked into the game for the first time with 6:41 to go in the first quarter — curiously, as the four alongside Gobert, rather than at the five instead of him. Favors wound up playing 24 minutes, scoring 11 points (all in the second half) and grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots.
Deep thoughts about deep shots
The Jazz started the season having made an emphasis on not only improving the efficiency of their 3-point attempts, but the volume of them as well.
After a strong start, both of those components tailed off the previous couple games.
In last week’s loss to the Kings, they were just 2 of 15 from deep in the first half, and finished 12 of 39 overall (30.8 percent). On Friday against the Lakers, the team went 4 for 23 from deep (17.4 percent) for the game.
.”I see the stat sheet, I know all too well that we’d like to make more. You can’t quit taking what are good shots because they’re not going in,” Snyder said. “… You have to take what the defense gives you and if you’re open from 3, that’s a good shot. I don’t want any of our players to lose confidence, that that somehow is a shot we need to pass up. You watch the game and watch those possessions where guys don’t take that shot, and rarely do you get a better look than you do if you got an open 3. We just gotta shoot ’em with confidence.”
Georges Niang, who is making 38.5 percent of his 3-pointers this year, said the issue is the team actually being overly altruistic at times.
“I don’t think anybody’s afraid to shoot it, but we have a really unselfish team, and sometimes we’ll turn down good shots and try to get great ones — and sometimes you turn down a good one and don’t get a better one,” Niang said.
The Jazz were just 4 of 14 from deep (28.6 percent) in the first half vs. the Kings, and finished 10 for 30 overall.