The Utah Jazz were completely dominated by the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their first-round matchup on Sunday night, shooting under 40 percent from the floor and committing 18 turnovers.
Utah also shot just under 26 percent from the free-point line, and assisted on just 18 baskets as compared to 25 Houston assists.
Jazz star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell averaged 4.2 assists during the regular season, but he failed to record a single dime in the loss on Sunday evening.
Houston was one of the best teams in the NBA at defending the perimeter this season, ranking second in opponent shooting percentage from beyond the arc. So Mitchell and the rest of his teammates must place a higher premium on sharing the ball and finding a way to get into the paint.
For his part, Mitchell believes that there are certain adjustments that he can make to Houston’s defense that will allow him to be more effective.
But the former Louisville star also maintained that he needed to focus on making the right pass:
Donovan Mitchell, on what he can do differently in Gm2: "There’s different things that I’ve seen that I feel like I can take advantage of, whether it’s handling the ball or being off the ball. … I’m gonna make some adjustments. The biggest thing for me is to find the open man." pic.twitter.com/dyf01ytHN5
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) April 17, 2019
These two teams met in the Western Conference semifinals in last year’s playoffs, with the Rockets holding Mitchell to just over 31 percent shooting from three in a five-game series victory for Houston.
If the Jazz hope to avoid a similar fate, they will need their star to find ways to get his teammates involved.
That could mean more post touches for Utah center Rudy Gobert, who scored 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field on Sunday night.
The Jazz would do well to run their offense through Gobert, especially if they continue to struggle shooting from the perimeter.