The Utah Jazz will be taking on the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday.
The Jazz have a 2-0 series lead over the Clippers, but if they want win at Staples Center in L.A., here are three things they need to keep in mind.
Beware the zone
Clippers head coach Ty Lue found some success in Game 2 using a zone defense against the Jazz. When you find something that works, there’s no reason not to try it again, so the Jazz will need to be ready.
Without Mike Conley (missing his third straight game with a hamstring strain), the Jazz’s other ball handlers will need to be very mindful of moving the ball and not falling into isolation plays, which do nothing toward breaking down the zone.
Defense on role players
The Jazz need to do a better job of defending the Clippers’ role players in the early stages of the game. That means not letting a guy like Reggie Jackson get into such a good rhythm early on that he ends up hitting huge, potentially game-changing buckets in the fourth quarter.
Jackson led the Clippers in scoring with 29 points in Game 2. He’s not a guy you can leave open or play relaxed defense against.
More of the same
The Jazz have done a lot of really impressive things through these playoffs and in the first couple of games of this series. They need to continue repeating the things they’ve done well and then adding to them.
Joe Ingles needs to continue to be aggressive on the offensive end while defending Paul George on the other side. Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic need to keep being the defensive stalwarts they’ve been through the first two games. Donovan Mitchell has been spectacular so far and the Jazz need him to stay engaged. Rudy Gobert has been every bit a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. If the Jazz can continue to get the best out of their players they could end up with a commanding 3-0 lead in this series.
Game 3 tips off at 6:30 p.m. MDT, Saturday on ABC.