HOUSTON (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz had a day off on Monday, and it was much needed. They didn’t have much time between beating Oklahoma City and starting the series with the Rockets, and it showed in game one Sunday, trailing by as many as 27 points in a 110-96 loss.
“I won’t call it fatigue, I think we were ready to compete,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. “But there’s just only so much you can take on. We need to empty our cups so to speak to be in a good place mentally to absorb things that we now need to concentrate on.”
“No doubt, no doubt we’re not making excuses as the reason we got defeated,” said Jae Crowder, who scored 21 points. “I think we’ll be fresher and more engaged for what we have to do to take away what they like to do on both ends of the court and we’ll be a little fresher for Game 2.”
The Jazz used today to rest, and to watch film, figuring out what they did wrong in the first half in which they trailed by 25 points, and what they did right in the second half when they cut the deficit to 11 points.
“First half getting a feel, second half, making those adjustments in a short amount of time,” said Royce O’Neale, who started in place of the injured Ricky Rubio. “But we watched film and game plan for next game.”
“We took good clips from both halves try to build off it and try to learn and execute it for game 2.” added Crowder.
Part of Utah’s problem is not having Rubio, who is out with a hamstring injury, and that’s a big loss to overcome with Rubio averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the Oklahoma City series.
“We miss him,” said Snyder. “But that’s part of the season. We’ve had him out before, we’ve had other guys out and when I say we miss him, we have to adjust to some of the things he gives us. I don’t think it falls to any one guy.”
“We just have to be more in tune with getting the ball in the paint,” said Crowder. “Ricky does a good job of getting the ball in the paint and driving and creating for others. So it takes every guy on the court to step up, bring something else to the game and help our offense.”
Then there’s the problem of how to stop James Harden. He scored 41 points in Game 1 and made 7 of 12 3-point attempts, but the Jazz have come up with a plan to stop him.
“We ask to him to miss,” Snyder joked. “You say, ‘please James, will you miss this time?’ and you hope he’s magnanimous enough to do you a favor.”
The Jazz probably shouldn’t count on that.
Game 2 comes up Wednesday night in Houston at 6:00 MDT.