Something has happened with Joe Ingles since the first two games of Oklahoma City’s playoff series against Utah. Oh yeah….the Thunder have quit guarding him for some reason.
OKC left Joe Ingles inexplicably open here.
Jazz lead by 17 heading into the 4th.pic.twitter.com/zqEdF591nf
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) April 24, 2018
Utah’s sharp-shooting small forward has caught fire as of late, blistering OKC for an average of 20.5 points in games three and four…mostly because he was left wide open in the corner in both games.
Ingles sparked Utah’s offense in Game Three, helping the Jazz to outscore Oklahoma City 36-23 in the second quarter. You’d would think that would be enough to put him on Utah’s defensive radar, assuming they have one, but it absolutely wasn’t.
Utah turned a 30-24 first quarter deficit into a 58-52 halftime lead in Game Four thanks to a 34-22 second quarter advantage. Ingles was once again the catalysts in the Jazz making a run, ultimately finishing with 20 points on 5-11 shooting from 3-point range.
Billy Donovan said the issues with leaving Ingles open were not the same as last game: "I don't want to get into scouting and stuff but it's not that."
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) April 24, 2018
Here’s the problem with Ingles. Donovan Mitchell has been an unstoppable force, Rudy Gobert has been dominating inside, and Derek Favors is getting the best of Carmelo Anthony. That makes Joe Ingles the forgotten man, and possibly the biggest key to the Jazz taking control of the series.
It’s a pick your poison type of situation. Paul George has been required multiple times to help on defense and, in doing so, he’s losing sight of Ingles. The Thunder must find a way to keep better tabs on the Aussie, even if it means less help from George.
Figure Out The Pick And Roll
The Thunder need to both figure out how to run it and how to defend it. Running it requires a little patience and, to this point, Russell Westbrook has shown any.
The Jazz always drop in pick-and-roll coverage with Gobert and Westbrook loves that pull-up midrange jumper, but he's really inefficient with it. Utah should find lots of success defending OKC's Russ-Adams pick and roll if Westbrook is just going to launch those open midrangers. pic.twitter.com/dUjsOTOuyT
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) April 15, 2018
Rudy Gobert chasing Adams down the lane is a part of the hindrance for Westbrook to pull the trigger on the pick and roll but, as I’ve been saying since Game One, the Thunder must attack Utah at the rim.
Another Gobert example. Nice play by Thunder. 1st play of 3rd quarter. They get Westbrook downhill on pick and roll with Adams. Rudy blows up the timing on the whole play cuts off Westbrook, gets back to Adams. Donovan comes and gets steal pic.twitter.com/5VByHbxZ0R
— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) April 22, 2018
Defending the pick and roll has been even more difficult for Oklahoma City. It literally looks too easy when the Jazz run it. Look how far Derrick Favors get under the basket before getting fed the ball.
Un par de jugadas después, OKC intenta ajustar: Pick and roll entre Rubio y Favors. El Thunder decide hacer switch (queda Melo con Ricky y Russ con Favors). Rubio al ver a su ala pivot emparejado con el base, le tira la pelota. Doble fácil. pic.twitter.com/EAG552fqyf
— Davor Fernandez (@davorfernandez) April 24, 2018
I think we can leave this one here without further comment.