The other night the Utah Jazz lost to the Bucks in overtime. It was a close and hard-fought game with two teams with opposing strengths. The Bucks had the best backcourt while the Jazz had the best front court. Now, the Bucks won the game fair and square, but the Jazz did plenty to allow them to win.
Many have talked about the giant goose egg the starters at the 1, 2, and 3 put up. But, as many others have said, I think this loss falls on Ty Corbin. There are plenty Corbin defenders out there. I have seen this loss blamed on Hayward’s play in the clutch and turnovers. But the more I think about it I always come back to Corbin.
Derrick Favors rides the pine
Immediately after the game the question became why Favors didn’t step on the floor during the 4th quarter. Corbin has claimed to be going with the hot hand, which I believe. I am no pro coach, but have coached a few basketball games in my day, and I am all for riding the hot hand. When Corbin said this I really got over my frustration over this decision. However, there is one question that I have regarding this strategy.
Why not put Favors back in? On thing I have learned in watching basketball is to play to your strengths. This was pounded into my head when the Warriors, an 8 seed, beat the Mavericks, a 1 seed, in the first round of the playoffs. The Mavericks reacted to GSW, not the other way around and lost the series. (Thanks Avery, I enjoyed watching the Jazz-Warriors series afterwards.) So, if the Jazz have a strength in their size, play the size. Put Favors in for DeMarre Carroll and run with it. I know this would have cost the Jazz some 3-point shots from Reddick, but no one in the backcourt prevented them either. Also, after Millsap posted Reddick up a few times the Bucks would have had to adjust. So, why not sub in Favors?
Smart Basketball vs. Honor of the Game
Here is where all my frustration is with Tyrone Corbin. Milwaukee has the ball with roughly 16 seconds left. They need a 3 to tie the game. What is the smart thing to do? Foul the ball handler before a 3-point shot can be attempted. This is smart basketball. Instead of giving the other team a real chance to tie and potential momentum, they shoot free throws. I know the finally seconds become a boring free throw contest and it doesn’t guarantee a win. However, I like these chances better.
Many current NBA coaches would not have the player commit the foul in an effort to preserve the honor of the game. This concept sounds crazy to me because winning is what saves a coach’s job. Stop preserving the game and protect yourself. If Ty Corbin makes the call to foul does he get all the heat he has been under? I can only speak for myself and I would not be all that mad if he made the right basketball call.