On the afternoon of April 22, local time, the Utah Jazz summoned all the players to the team’s training hall for a collective video lesson. The video the coaches prepared for the players was the first in the previous series against the Lone Ranger. Three wars.
All the “ugly truths” were laid out, and every Jazz player clearly saw how Mavericks guard Jaylen Bronson galloped past them time and time again. They even saw how Doncic, wearing a training suit and a towel around his neck, entered the field excitedly at the last moment of the game and celebrated the victory with his teammates. At that time, the Jazz players had not received the news that Doncic was about to return in the fourth game, but seeing Doncic in such a state, they must also celebrate in their hearts, and this day will come sooner or later.
Could it be that the fate of the Jazz this season is so finalized? “We all watched the tape collectively,” the Jazz’s Bogdanovic said, “and it was clear to each of us that this is the team we are today, not what we wanted to be. In the first half of the third game, we played without any energy at all.”
But in the second half of Game 3, and throughout Game 4, the Jazz seemed to wake up from a dream. With Doncic returning from injury with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, the Slovenian guard pulled the lead to 4 points in front of Gobert with a step-back 3-pointer , the Jazz still gritted their teeth to fight the game back, and won a 100-99 victory, which also allowed them to return to Dallas with a big score of 2-2.
According to statistics, in the playoffs in the past 10 years, the Jazz are the 5th team that can finally reverse the victory within the last 40 seconds of the game and be 4 points behind. Just from this statistic, you can feel the change in the team’s current appearance. Through such a victory, the Jazz not only tied the big score of the series, but also gave themselves a chance to return to the home court for the sixth game of the series. Although Doncic’s return has greatly increased the strength of the Lone Ranger, through this crucial victory, the Jazz have also regained their spirit and fighting spirit. In many cases, the overall trend of the series may be completely reversed by one game.
“That’s the team we want to be,” said Gobert, who finished the alley-oop dunk to seal the win. “We just want the team to look like that. The challenge that comes down is how to play like this every night, every minute of the game. But whoever is on the court, we have to play like this, we have to play with this intensity.”
What made the Game 4 victory even sweeter for the Jazz was that they didn’t play flawlessly. On the contrary, they still made a lot of mistakes in this game. For example, they conceded as many as 16 free throws in the game, as well as multiple missed free throws in the final clutch moments. For another example, they only hit 10 of 35 shots from beyond the three-point line. Since the start of the series, they have never defeated the Mavericks in a single-game three-point contest. Also, in the core matchup, the returning Doncic used a 52.4% shooting rate and scored 30 points efficiently. In contrast, Jazz core Mitchell made only 7 of 21 shots and 2 of 10 three-pointers, scoring Very inefficient.
In this comparison, it seems that the Jazz are not dominant everywhere. So, what did they rely on to win this crucial battle? The answer is defense. In the past, the Jazz was a team based on defense, but in recent years, the team has transformed into an offensive team. The amount of content mocking and criticizing the Jazz defense on social media is endless. And the first two games in the series lost to the Mavericks, and their defense and points loss were also very bad.
However, at such a pivotal moment in the series, the Jazz seem to have regained their defensive glory. In many offensive rounds, the Lone Ranger players need to repeatedly transmit on the perimeter, but they still can’t find an easy shot. There were not many such cases in the first three battles of the series.
Among the Jazz’s defensive chain, Bogdanovic is undoubtedly the best performer. His defense against Bronson in this game can be called the best performance of his career so far. Many times I switch to Doncic. This player, who has always been considered a strong offensive player and a weak defensive player, can also have good defensive destructive power. “He didn’t even tell anyone that he was going to do it on the court,” Mitchell said after the game. “He just stepped on the court and put himself into the defensive end and released a lot of energy. When you When you see one of your teammates play like this, you don’t hesitate to follow him. He sets an example for us.”
The Jazz’s high-quality defense also continued into the final moments of the game. After taking the lead through Gobert’s alley, the Jazz also needed to defend the Mavericks’ final counterattack. Bogdanovic and House came forward at the right time to double-team, forcing Doncic to pass the ball in his hand. And Gobert rotated in time at the back and threw himself in front of Dinwiddie, who was receiving the ball, so he had to shoot a three-pointer with great interference. Compared with the alley-oop in the previous round, Gobert’s last defense is also very critical.
For the Jazz, this game not only brought them a victory, but also allowed them to restore their confidence in the team. Although this season, they have been inconsistent and frustrated within the team, but there is still a lot of talent and ability in their roster. The team that won the first regular season record last season should not have been reduced to this this season. Therefore, to find the Jazz of his own level, he also allowed himself to return to this round of competition in the series.
Of course, the most emblematic and motivating shot for the Jazz came from the lob at the end of the game. The ball flew out of the hands of Mitchell, who had not been able to pass alleys well all season, and found Gobert, who had been in poor offensive form in the previous few games. For the Jazz’s dual-core inside and outside, such a winning shot can be regarded as a double liberation for the two of them.
In this age of social media, Mitchell has naturally heard a lot of talk about his relationship with Gobert. The cooperation between the two, and their subsequent celebration of hitting their chests, is undoubtedly the scene that Jazz fans most want to see.
“We trust each other,” Mitchell said after the game. “Although we think a lot of the comments are funny, you still hear those voices. So now we both feel great.” (Sports Weekly)Return to Sohu, see more
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