A Utah Jazz Community

Three thoughts on the Houston Rockets' versatile 3-point attack overwhelming the Jazz, how the Jazz can attack the Rockets' switching defense and how the Jazz responded to the loss of Ricky Rubio.

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That’s bad news for Utah.

Ricky Rubio will miss Game 1 of the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets Western Conference Semifinal playoff matchup to a hamstring injury, according the Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones. He could miss up to 10 days depending on how his rehabilitation goes, according ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That’s a tough blow for Utah, which survived the second half of Game 6 against the Oklahoma city Thunder in the opening round of the playoffs without him. The Rockets are the top seed in the west, and Rubio’s loss will only up the workload for rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell. Dante Exum should expect more time as well.

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On Oklahoma City’s last meaningful possession down by three, they recorded five offensive rebounds and missed all six chances.

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s final meaningful possession lasted for 43 seconds. They attempted six field goals — four from behind the arc — and secured five offensive rebounds, including one that was awarded to them after a video review. They missed all six shots, and the Utah Jazz won 96-91 in Game 6 on Friday to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

With that many chances, it’s unbelievable that the Thunder couldn’t get even one shot to fall. Six different chances! It’s a possession that will surely haunt Oklahoma City long into the offseason, one that starts now — way earlier than anyone must have thought last summer when Paul George and Carmelo Anthony were brought to the team.

Let’s quickly run through this fateful possession:

First shot: Westbrook misses a layup

Westbrook beat everyone to the basket, although there were defenders around him, but pushed the shot too hard off the backboard. It was online, but it bounced off the front rim and fell off. Somehow, Steven Adams gets a hand on it to poke the offensive rebound out, recovers it, and saves it to Raymond Felton.

Second shot: George misses a long three...
The Jazz rookie shows an uncommon ability to read the game as it happens.

Whenever I think of Donovan Mitchell, I also think of Sam Hinkie. Not because Hinkie is directly connected to the fanbase that’s teamed with Mitchell’s own to turn the Rookie of the Year debate into a hellscape, but because of something Hinkie said to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard in his first interview after he left the 76ers.

“Why do we watch basketball games front to back?” Hinkie rhetorically asked. “Why not watch games back to front, or out of order?”

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Delta Center is no longer the Delta Center.

It’s Vivint Arena now.

The Utah Jazz are no longer using the snowcapped mountain peak jerseys, either. The current squad is balling in navy blue, gold and green.

Two decades have passed since Karl Malone and his running mate John Stockton were leading the Jazz to the 1997-98 NBA Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.

Although Utah didn’t win a title, Malone remains a beloved figure in the Salt Lake City community.

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