76ers vs Celtics Reddit: Welcome To Watch 76ers vs Celtics Reddit Live Stream, And yet, given that 0-3 mark against the Nuggets, are they really that much preferable an opponent? Well, Utah is not taking Denver lightly, even if the Jazz apparently feel better about facing them.
If it seems curious for the Utah Jazz to have specifically targeted a postseason series against the Denver Nuggets after going 0-3 against them during the regular season/seeding games schedule, well it is.
And yet apparently, that seemed like the best option, considering the alternatives.
Namely, no more Houston Rockets, please and thank you.
The Jazz clearly felt Houston’s five-out offensive style would be a bad matchup, given how thoroughly it diminishes the impact of Rudy Gobert. And so the Jazz sat out four starters vs. San Antonio; and three days later, all five starters took off the second half against Dallas. One Rockets loss and one Thunder win later, and that targeted sixth seed was theirs, making a potential matchup with Houston impossible until the Western Conference finals.
“They’re a terrific team and they’ve shown that all year long,” said coach Quin Snyder. “They’re well-coached. The players know how to play together. They’ve got some special players. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ll try to get prepared and get ready.”
OK, so naturally Snyder would call any opponent the Jazz are facing in the playoffs “a terrific team.” Thing is, though, the Nuggets legitimately have been.
Despite closing with three straight losses in the bubble, Denver finishes with a 46-27 mark that’s third-best in the Western Conference and sixth-best in the NBA. They are among the league leaders in field-goal percentage and assists per game. Their size and prowess inside makes among the league’s elite in offensive rebounding, second-chance points, and points in the paint. They have the second-most clutch wins and the fourth-best clutch plus/minus. They also far and away lead in points scored by second-rounders — evidence of their widely-admired depth.
Why again did the Jazz want to face this team?
OK, so yes, the Jazz technically had zero wins in three meetings with Denver. But they were right there in all three.There’s no hiding inside the Orlando bubble.
Opponents are within close proximity, and it’s more likely than not that they’ll cross paths inside Disney’s resort.
As luck has it, Utah’s meal room is near where the Nuggets dine. When the two teams spotted each other Friday, Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic made an astute point. These would probably be the last pleasantries both parties exchanged for the next week and a half.
So be it. The playoffs are here. Denver is working to address its leaky 3-point defense and to find offensive schemes Utah, a division rival, hasn’t seen before.
The biggest difference from what the Jazz saw in the regular season to the team they’ll face Monday in Game 1 is the emergence of Michael Porter Jr., who on Saturday afternoon was named to the “All-Bubble” second team. Utah got a sense of how Porter changes Denver’s geometry after he poured in 23 points and snatched 11 rebounds in the Nuggets’ double-overtime win over the Jazz a week ago. At that point, it was Porter’s fourth consecutive double-double in the bubble.
But as exciting as Porter’s unconscious shooting has been, he’s still a rookie. And the growing pains the Nuggets went through last year in their heartbreaking Game 7 loss to Portland in the second round should benefit them immensely this year.
“I think last year, we were all like anxious as far as when you watch us practice and things like that, everybody was rushing things, but I think now, with that year experience, most of the guys that’s out there, we’re just more relaxed,” said Nuggets point guard Monte Morris, whose role has increased as a result of injuries to Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee). “I feel like it’s kinda like taking the exam a second time. You study a little better.”
Morris, himself, had a miserable postseason debut — one that stung throughout the regular season. Morris is a far better and more confident player than the one who went 0-of-13 from 3-point range in last year’s postseason.
“It definitely ate at me,” Morris said. “… I’m excited to get out there with that one year from last year, the few struggles I had playing out there. Now I know what to expect.”
The same goes for Jokic, the linchpin of the Nuggets’ offense. Jokic’s primary takeaway after his sterling postseason debut last year was how valuable each possession can be. That means no defensive lapses, as have plagued the Nuggets thus far in Orlando, and no careless possessions.
It’s far more encouraging for a deep playoff run that Jokic can speak from experience.