Enes Kanter and the Utah Jazz take on the Spurs at 7:00 on TNT
Despite playing 10 minutes off the bench in Game 1, not many people are predicting Enes Kanter to be the difference maker heading into tonight’s Game 2 matchup between the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, except one…US!
The Spurs were able to outscore the Jazz 58-44 in the paint, the second highest number of point scored in the paint in Spurs playoff history. If the Jazz are going to win tonight, and win the series, they are going to need to stop the Spurs from owning them in the paint.
One answer to this problem would be to play the 6’11 267-pound center, Enes Kanter, a lot more than 10 minutes. While not the best one-on-one defender, he is an excellent pick-and-roll defender, can rebound with the best of them, and is an efficient offensive player (he led the Jazz in FG% this season).
On the season Kanter averaged 4.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg. That may not look all that impressive at first glance, but when you consider that if Kanter had played all 48 minutes he would be averaging 16.7 ppg and 15.3 rpg, suddenly it looks pretty darn impressive.
The Jazz need to find a way to win the battle in the paint, and with Kanter, they can do that. Hopefully Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin is smart enough to realize this.
Here is a previewe of tonight’s game courtesy of CBSSports.com….
Previewing the Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs Game 2.
1. Where We’re At: The Spurs lead 1-0 after what could be considered a “fine” win over Utah. It wasn’t dominant, it wasn’t excessive. It was just a solid win where the Spurs lead by three possessions for most of the game and then blew it open in the fourth. Enough to show that Utah has some things it can do well against San Antonio, but also to show the Spurs are firmly in control.
2. The Big Number: 31 percent. The Jazz grabbed 31 percent of their own misses against the Spurs in Game 1, controlling the offensive glass. The Spurs frontcourt has been a question mark since last year’s Grizzlies series, and Utah showed that they can take over the paint just as well. Now the flip side of this is that it didn’t matter because the Spurs held the Jazz to such a lower percentage from the field. In fact, the Spurs outscored the Jazz on second-chance points 13-5. Utah has to repeat the work on the glass and actually, you know, put the ball in the basket when they get an extra possession.
3. Key Adjustment: The Jazz are going to have to come up with some sort of plan to stop Tony Parker. He routinely blew by Devin Harris and Earl Boykins on the perimeter. They need a wing defender to step up. It might not be a bad idea to let Gordon Hayward take a run at Parker, since he has better length and Manu Ginobili was slicing him apart. They need to come up with some sort of adjustment to try and limit Parker if they’re going to have a chance.
4. The Big Story: San Antonio is just better. Utah didn’t play all that badly, and still wound up with a 13 point efficiency differential. That’s not a good sign. The Jazz have to prove that they don’t have to play perfect to get a win or at least challenge the Spurs, or this thing could head south in a hurry.
5. The Facts: Tipoff 7:00 p.m. EST. Tiago Splitter is out with a sprained hand for the Spurs. DeJuan Blair will fill in for his minutes.