The Utah Jazz started the series up 2-0 but have lost two straight games, making the series tied at 2-2. The Los Angeles Clippers have been great the past two games and the Jazz will need to make major adjustments for Game 5.
Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have taken over the last two games and the Jazz need to come up with an answer. Although it is hard to defend players like Leonard and George, the Jazz have the defensive talent to contain them. Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic are able to at least contain the two All-Stars and make their shots difficult.
Here are five adjustments the Jazz must make for Game 5 against the Clippers to get back on track.
5. Contain Marcus Morris Sr.
If George and Leonard are already going off, you can’t let another player join them. The Jazz allowed this to happen in Game 4 as Marcus Morris Sr. dropped 24 points and six rebounds. They will need to adjust how they guard Morris the rest of the series, as containing him will be key. Morris is a good three-point shooter and solid scorer but he shouldn’t be the player to decide the tone of the game.
4. Get Jordan Clarkson going
Jordan Clarkson won the Sixth Man of the Year award and he’s provided the scoring off the bench for the Jazz. He was on fire in the regular season as he averaged 18.4 points per game, but he has shot poorly as of late. The Jazz will need to get him going early when he is inserted into the game by getting him easy shot attempts. When Clarkson gets going, the team plays with more energy and is more fluid.
3. Limit Clippers’ three-point shooting
The Clippers have been a great three-point shooting team all season, and the Jazz will have to limit them. They are a great defensive team and have the ability to at least limit the percentage of the Clippers’ three-point shooting. The Jazz have versatile defenders that are great at defending the long ball as they have great switchability. If the Jazz can keep the Clippers around 35 percent shooting or lower from beyond the arc, they will be in good shape.
2. Get Rudy Gobert more involved on offense
Rudy Gobert is an All-Star center but is mostly known for his defensive ability as he is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. What many don’t know is that Gobert is a great finisher at the rim and the Jazz need to get him more involved in the offense. The Clippers often run a small ball lineup late in games, which gives Gobert a huge size advantage. The Jazz need to feed Gobert in the post to add another offensive threat to their attack.
1. Limit Paul George or Kawhi Leonard
While it may be hard to limit both Leonard and George, it would make a difference if the Jazz can contain either one of them. This was proven in Game 1 when George only had 20 points on 23.5 percent shooting. If the Jazz can keep The Klaw or PG-13 under 40 percent shooting, they have a great shot at winning. The Jazz need to play more physical and give them different looks from various defenders.
Look for the Jazz to make these adjustments in Game 5 and take a 3-2 series lead.