Dallas Mavericks versus Utah Jazz series preview
Despite their strengths and successful formula for the regular season, Utah has holes that are repeatedly exposed in the postseason. For one, while Rudy Gobert is an elite defender, his lack of perimeter mobility leaves Utah’s defense vulnerable against stretch bigs and high pick-and-rolls. When teams can force Gobert to guard out on the perimeter, it changes the Jazz from a fearsome defense into a lay-up line.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2020/08/30/0041900166/525/e20e5f79-4c37-6fe4-6ff9-fe1fda1a9992_1280x720.mp4
In Game 6 last year, Jamal Murray torched the Jazz defense to the tune of 50 points. A few of the plays looked like this one, with Murray using a high screen and forcing Gobert to make a decision on the perimeter, usually the wrong one. Here, The Stifle Tower neither hedges nor switches, opting instead to drop, which leaves Murray with a clean look from deep.
If Dallas has the opportunity to play Utah in the playoffs, it’s a safe bet that Coach Carlisle will continually run screens at Gobert to mitigate his rim protection and take him out of his element.
On offense, the Jazz look much improved from last year behind the continued growth of Spida, a healthy Bogdanovic, the emergence of Jordan Clarkson, and the assimilation of Mike Conley. With a more balanced offense, Utah has bombarded teams for over 118 points per 100 possessions.
The Jazz, however, still have to prove that their offense can compete when Mitchell is struggling. Not counting last year’s series against the Nuggets, in which Spida and Jamal Murray exchanged historic playoff box scores, Mitchell has averaged 28 points per game in Jazz playoff wins versus 20.6 in their losses.
Until proven otherwise, shutting down Spida and exposing The Stifle Tower on the perimeter is the best formula for the Dallas Mavericks to advance into the NBA Finals. Here is to hoping that the Jazz have enough to get past the Lakeshow, but fall short against the Mavericks.
Next: NBA Finals