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Houston • The Game 1 blowout has been dissected, analyzed, overanalyzed even, to death.
It’s been a long couple days since the Jazz dropped their postseason opener to the Rockets by 32 points. Now they’re ready to finally try and do something about it.
At Wednesday afternoon’s shootaround at the Toyota Center, Donovan Mitchell said it does no good now to fixate on that initial result; the focus must change to what can be done better tonight in Game 2.
“We’re in a hole, and we gotta get out of the hole. That’s where my head is at,” he said. “… It helps when you know it’s a series, you process it differently in the regular season than you do in a series. You understand that you can’t do nothing about it, you can’t sit there and sulk, ’cause that’s playing into their hands. We’ve got to be able to find a way to bounce back and make adjustments.”
The biggest one in forward Jae Crowder’s mind is ratcheting up the mental and physical ferocity. Watching the Game 1 tape, he said, clearly showed that the on-court fervor didn’t match up to the magnitude of the moment.
Asked what must change most from Games 1 to 2, he was direct and blunt.
“Our intensity — watching that, it didn’t feel like a playoff game. We didn’t bring the intensity that we needed to, and the game got away from us,” Crowder said. “First of all, our intensity has to pick up, and everything else will fall into place.”
There are plenty of other things, of course, that could use some improvement. And the Jazz are confident many of those areas will be better. Mitchell said there has been great back-and-forth between players and coaches on how best to make it all work.
“All of us have come in and given our input on what we see and what we should do, and the coaching staff is great and phenomenal as far as listening to us, as far as giving us their input as well,” Mitchell said. “We have a great team team chemistry that allows our coaches and allows teammates to give their opinion and constructive criticism; and that makes it a lot easier when you have guys who want to help each other out.”
In case you missed it …
Doesn’t it feel like just about forever now since the Jazz’s 122-90 loss to the Rockets in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series? We’ve at least had plenty to discuss in the aftermath. Like, how can the Jazz get Donovan Mitchell going after a tough opening effort? And the need to make some more 3-pointers going forward. The bromance between Jazz coach Quin Snyder and Rockets point guard Chris Paul. Columnist Gordon Monson took a look back at last year’s Game 2 victory over the Rockets in the Western Conference semis.
But wait, there’s more! We also examined what the Jazz might do defensively for the rest of the series after their opening-game strategy largely fell flat. Speaking of which, the Rockets surprised a lot of people with how good their defense has become. Meanwhile, if you thought a 32-point loss would discourage the team, well, they’re confident in the adjustments they’ll make going forward.
Other people’s stuff
• The New York Times did a feature story on Warriors guard Steph Curry’s love of in-arena popcorn, wherein he ranks every NBA arena’s version of the snack. Vivint Smart Home Arena’s is tied for 15th overall, earning high marks for saltiness, but low marks for freshness and presentation.
• Deseret News columnist Brad Rock took note of Rudy Gobert’s simple message heading into Game 2: “We’ll be fine.”
• The Tribune’s Andy Larsen and the Deseret News’ Eric Woodyard appeared with Aaron Falk and Angie Treasure of utahjazz.com on a Jazz Facebook livestream to discuss takeaways from Game 1 and preview Game 2.
• Ben Anderson wrote a contributing column for KSL.com, arguing that Game 1 wasn’t actually lost on Sunday, but much earlier, when the team decided not to make significant changes from last season.
• The Athletic has a couple pieces that touch on the Jazz, with beat writer Tony Jones touching on Derrick Favors’ soft-spoken admonition that the team needs to “play better,” and analyst Zach Harper taking an in-depth look at how the strategy for defending James Harden went so wrong.
• Here’s a fun thing — the Jazz, in combination with student developers from the Neumont College of Computer Science, have released a new video game called “Splash Uncles.”
Game 2 of the series is tonight in Houston. After that, the teams return to Salt Lake City for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday, respectively.