Because this season cannot be measured by wins and losses, I have decided it’s beneficial to focus in on key match ups this year. As this has been dubbed a “season of discovery”, this helps us judge improvement as the season progresses. By doing so we won’t get as disappointed when we lose as many games as we could lose. The match up for the Utah Jazz game tonight against the Warriors that we should focus on is:
Saturday’s game was one that the Jazz never had control of. The best thing we could have seen was our guys fight back the way they did after a 27-13 first quarter. They played with intensity and defended the Warriors decently in the second half. The Jazz accomplished something that many have not done. They held Steph Curry to 35% shooting and did not allow him to make a 3 the entire game. While that was a great development, the Jazz allowed other players to kill them. Igoudala was one of those players, which is why stopping Iggy is a key component of tonight’s game.
Gordon Hayward vs Andre Igoudala
Igoudala has found himself in the ideal situation. Formally Iggy was used as a 1st option offensively in Philadelphia and Denver. Golden State’s roster allows for Iggy to be their 4th option! Iggy can focus on every other facet of his game, while not stressing about offense. In return Iggy is having the most efficient year of his season with a 19.41 PER and 71.5% true shooting percentage. In comparison, last year he had a PER of 15.27 and a 52% true shooting percentage. Iggy’s 55% at the free throw suggest he is just hot to start the season. I think that the Jazz need to shut Iggy down to win this game.
Iggy guarded Hayward most of the time they were on the floor together. Hayward struggled to make his shots inside the 3-point line, making only one-third of said shots. This was primarily due to Iggy’s elite defensive abilities. The Jazz need to run some more picks with Hayward as the primary ball holder to try and get someone else switched on him.
One thing that surprised in Saturday’s game against the Warriors, was the submissiveness of Hayward. There were many times I felt he had an open shot that he passed up. In the previous games, Hayward was taking those shots.
The Warriors created a huge mismatch for the Jazz by running Iggy at the point. Watching JLIII trying to guard Iggy was absurd. Iggy had a hay day posting up John Lucas. When Golden State runs Iggy at the point, look for the Jazz to quickly switch Alec Burks to the point to get some size on him. Hayward has initiated much of our offense this year, and I would be willing to run Hayward at the point ONLY when Iggy is in to try and counteract the mismatch they are creating.
I think you will see Hayward have a bounce back game, and really cause Golden States defense some issues. We need to run Golden State off the 3-point line. This will be achieved by putting Hayward on Iggy to prevent dribble penetration.
The Jazz may not win tonight, but this is a must watch game. Golden State has become one of the most electric, exciting teams you can see. Besides that, this game will be a great way to determine the Jazz growth. This is the young core’s first back to back game against the same time. After being blown out in Golden State, will they come back fighting? What defensive adjustments will they make? Who will step up and be the go to guy? We will find out tonight, and I suspect the outcome will be better than Saturday’s.
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